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Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2015

Hearing Equality, Technology, and Consumerism

As more and more people begin to experience changes in their hearing, the marketplace slowly adapts around them. Not only are there a growing number of hearing inclusive restaurants and theaters, but technology now provides some of the greatest benefits to those with hearing loss or impairment.

The wave of accessibility for those with hearing loss or impairment has proceeded slowly through awareness and largely through technology. The advantages of technology for those with hearing challenges wasn't always part of the original design, but something that was spurred on by those people with hearing loss or impairment, who became early adapters of all new technologies.

People with hearing loss have embraced the online world as a way to expand their communities and interactions. That's because the savvy hearing loss consumer was the first to recognize how technology could make it easier for them to communicate with the world at large.

Technology as a whole for use in the general population has been something the deaf and hard of hearing community has taken advantage of. According to the article on the BBC's Ouch Blog, "Twenty years ago most people were dependent on phone calls to chat, talk at work, or to do business. This was a problem for deaf people, many of whom find it impossible to hear voices on telephone lines."

The means ordering a pizza might have been nearly impossible at at time when they only way to do that would have been via telephone or in person. Today, pizza delivery orders can be placed and paid for online.

Technology didn't set out to be an equalizer for those with hearing loss or impairment, but it sure has caught on to this growing consumer population. Not only are there apps designed specifically to engage and assist those with hearing loss, but hearing aids now sync with phones, iPads, and computers. These advances allow communication, creating greater equality, but they also allow for freedom from the strains of communication as it used to be. Lip reading is still popular among people with hearing challenges, but it is not as easy as texting a message!

If you don't know how to read lips, or understand how difficult and strenuous the task can be on someone, play the video below. It's Charlie's Lip Reading Test.

In launching products with the hearing impaired in mind, companies like Samsung, are beginning to offer a new age of inclusion and a greater sense of belonging.

If you'd like to learn more about these advanced hearing technologies, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References

Lesser Known Things About Deafness by Charlie Swinebourne, BBC Ouch Blog. Taken on April 2, 2015 from http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-ouch-28658895

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