For those who experience hearing loss, learning to navigate an often inaccessible world can be frustrating and extremely challenging.
6 Breakthrough Tech Innovations for the Hard of Hearing
Everyday accessibility obstacles such as quiet cell phones to events without translators to poor lighting can affect those with hearing loss, making it difficult to perform daily tasks.
With over 360 million people worldwide experiencing partial to complete deafness, there is a significant need for more accessible spaces to ensure those hard of hearing can live without constant, often insurmountable hurdles.
Thankfully, over the years, the deaf community partnered with tech developers to create gadgets that make it possible for hard-of-hearing folks to soar past accessibility obstacles with fewer hiccups.
If you’re looking for tech-based solutions to help you better communicate and navigate hearing spaces, read on for six innovations for the hard of hearing.
Lively Direct’s Senior-Friendly Smartphones
Seniors who experience hearing loss often have difficulty embracing technology because they cannot use devices and features to their full potential.
Though there are elderly folks who prefer a life without potentially complicated gadgets, many miss out on technological benefits, like instant communication avenues and medical reminders.
To ensure aging adults with hearing loss have access to helpful tech, companies like Lively Direct provide senior-friendly smartphone devices with useful accessibility features.
These modern, simplified smartphones have ultra-loud speaker capabilities, speech-to-text features, and more to ensure those with hearing loss have access to tech.
Additionally, most have additional accessibility features, like large texts, user-friendly menus, and screen contrast customizations.
Invented by a group of students at Rochester’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, MotionSavvy is a software that allows simultaneous communication between hearing and non-hearing folks.
This program translates American Sign Language (ASL) into text with a state-of-the-art camera that tracks intricate hand movements.
The ability to process ASL into speech and speech into text is a new feature changing the way deaf and hard-of-hearing people navigate public spaces.
Additionally, this software continues to pick up figures of speech, colloquialisms, and various slang terms the more you use it, allowing for a broad vocabulary customizable with downloadable hand signals from the internet.
Ultimately, this program’s ever-expanding dictionary and personalized features make it an excellent tech-based solution for those with hearing loss.
Unfortunately, hearing aids can be expensive, leaving those in poor financial situations to fend for themselves in a world of inaccessible roadblocks.
In fact, more than half of the people who experience disabling hearing loss live across the globe live without proper resources and aids to navigate hearing-dominated spaces.
Thankfully, companies like Solar Ear offer hearing devices at discounted prices or through payment plans so lower-income individuals can gain access to life-changing aids.
Additionally, the Solar Ear is solar-powered, effectively eliminating the cost of batteries—which adds up quickly—significantly reducing the overall price.
Instead of lasting a week or two, solar batteries last years, allowing for prolonged use without the risk of device failure.
The Smart Glove is a product that uses similar technology to the MotionSavvy software, tracking ASL hand movements and transmitting the information into text via a smartphone or computer application.
However, instead of a camera picking up signals, hard-of-hearing folks wear an electric glove that tracks and processes hand movements, transcribing from ASL to other languages.
Because each finger comes equipped with yarn-like wires, the accuracy of this device is precise, making it an excellent option for deaf people navigating the hearing world.
For those who lost their hearing later in life, adjusting to auditory roadblocks can be exhausting. Especially for seniors who become deaf due to aging, the transition can be tricky and confusing.
Those who were previously able to hear often retain their ability to speak despite their inability to process the sound entirely, putting them in a unique position within the deaf community.
Many seniors never learn to sign, creating a disconnect between those fluent in ASL and hearing communities, causing many to feel cut off from their social lives.
Thankfully, for those who still prefer to talk, software like ISEEWHATYOUSAY tackles the disconnect by bridging the gap between those hard of hearing and the world around them.
This program calculates spoken language, converting it to readable text on a phone, tablet, or computer. ISEEWHATYOUSAY has revolutionized deaf communication with real-time transcriptions and precise mouth-reading capabilities.
A common fear for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals is the inability to hear critical information, specifically hazard alarms or warnings, like fire or burglar detection software.
Thankfully, programs like The SafeAwake offer alternative solutions, working alongside blaring alarms to notify the household of potential danger.
For example, the SafeAwake alarm system will send a signal once activated, shaking the bed, flashing lights, and extreme frequency noises to alert sleeping individuals.
Regardless of whether you’ve been deaf or hard of hearing your whole life, or are new to audible disabilities, learning to navigate an inaccessible world can be overwhelming without the right resources.
Thankfully, modern technological advancements offer solutions for those with hearing loss, enabling them to exist in previously restricted spaces.
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