There’s no doubt that technology has improved the lives of deaf people but what exactly are those advancements? If we roll back only a few years, deaf people had little choice but using the postal system if they wanted to communicate which obviously was hardly easy. SMS might seem quite a simple technology but it has transformed the lives of many deaf people. It’s sometimes easy to forget how dependant we are on using phones to communicate at least twenty years ago, but the deaf were pretty much excluded from using these devices as most can’t hear voices on phone lines.
The SMS followed the invention of things like the textphone which allowed people with hearing problems to type to one another with words appearing directly on the screens. Many deaf people also invested in expensive Fax machines as another way to communicate.
Nowadays there are loads of options that technology has made available for deaf people to communicate more easily. Social networks like Facebook are especially popular for deaf people were there is no disadvantage in communicating without being able to hear. Even people in restrictive societies where internet access is often filtered can use something like a British VPN to use the internet freely.
The other major development is being able to use video on most network enabled devices so that deaf people can use lip reading or sign language across the internet.
There are other significant improvements for deaf people in the improvements in hearing aids and cochlear implants. These are now much more effective and can be integrated with other devices like smart phones or music players via Bluetooth.
New innovations are appearing all the time, using video is now pretty much mainstream and has certainly helped the deaf in more formal situations like meetings. There are now devices and software which can translate automatically between sign language and English. Projects have often focussed on the popular BSL (British Sign Language).
There are many deaf resources also available on the internet, for example check out the great deaf magazine from the BBC called See Hear. All these resources have certainly improved the lives of deaf people all over the world but particular for those in developed countries where deaf people have easier access to these technological aids.
For further information on how to access the BBCs resource for deaf people outside the United Kingdom using a proxy server – please see this site.