Profound Ways Technology is Helping the Deaf Community

According to WHO, 5 percent of the world population (446 million) has disabling hearing loss. Thirty-four million of these are children, and the remaining 432 million are adults. 

I was checking reviews of Spectrum Internet plans and Spectrum TV packages when I stumbled upon a review by a deaf subscriber (he had mentioned that in the review). This intrigued me to learn more about the deaf. Turns out most of them live in low or middle-income countries such as the Asia Pacific, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Profound Ways Technology is Helping the Deaf Community

Hearing Loss vs Deafness 

Hearing loss and deafness are two different things. A person who isn’t able to hear and a person with normal hearing has a hearing threshold of 25 dB or better in both ears is considered an individual who has hearing loss. This loss could be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. It could affect one ear or both, leading to difficulty in hearing loud sounds or even conversational speech.

The people who experience “hard of hearing” have mild to severe hearing loss, and they can benefit from a hearing aid. The ones who have significant hearing loss might benefit from cochlear implants. On the contrary, the deaf are the ones with profound hearing loss, and they have little to no hearing. They rely on sign language to communicate. 

What Causes Hearing Loss or Deafness? 

Hearing loss or deafness can either be congenital or acquired. Let’s look at both these causes:

  1. Congenital hearing loss is the type that is either present at birth or acquired soon after birth. It could be hereditary, or some genetic factors such as complications during pregnancy can lead to this type of loss. These include low birth weight, infection, inappropriate use of a drug, birth asphyxia, etc.

  2. Acquired hearing loss is one that could occur at any age. Causes include infectious disease, use of certain meds, chronic ear infections, excessive recreational exposure to loud sounds, aging, etc.

Technology – A Game Changer for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 

One of the biggest impacts of hearing loss or deafness on an individual is their ability to communicate with others. Fortunately, advances in technology have the potential to improve the quality of life of such individuals. Let’s have a look at the type of gadgets technology has introduced the deaf community to:

1: Handy Sign Language Translators 

Most people generally know how to communicate in sign language but sometimes, a deaf person can come across a person who doesn’t understand it. For situations like these, HandTalk exists. This sign language translator uses motion sensors inside a glove for translating signs to audio. This audio is played through a mobile device, making communication easier than ever!

2: Music for the Deaf

Thanks to technology, the deaf can enjoy music as well. For that, they have gadgets like Tactile. It comes with a spiky ball that pulsates with the rhythm of the music. The device looks like a fashionable iPod. You can feel the rhythm like any other human being.

3: Solar-Powered Aid

Hearing aids can be expensive, which makes it hard for citizens of third world countries to afford them and then bear the maintenance expenses in the form of replacement batteries. Thanks to technology, owning a hearing aid has become somewhat affordable. With technologies like SolarAid, the deaf can buy low-cost hearing aids powered by solar chargers (which are handheld). 

4: Better Amplification 

Although easy to use hearing aids are available to help people with hearing disability hear their surroundings better. However, technology has improved that. A great example of that is the SoundAMP app for iPhone. It boosts the volume of any audio coming into the user’s microphone. This allows the user to listen to the sounds in their surroundings through their headphones.

This app isolates certain tones and makes them louder/quieter, depending on the user’s preference. So instead of wearing or carrying a hearing aid, the user just has to use the app on their phone! 

5: Visual Platforms

Everyone has their say on social media, and so does the deaf community. All giant social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. have made it easier for deaf people to express themselves. They can do so using videos, memes, art, posts, photos, GIFs, and even text. 

Since the deaf are visual learners, the visual nature of social media platforms has positively affected education, work, communication, and so much more.

Related Article: Hybrid App Development You Need for Your Business


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