“Communication technologies [for] people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing are just as much for the general hearing public… in that they foster communication between both groups.” **
Think of SMS texting on mobile phones, web-chat (via text, video or voice), and Facebook or Twitter posts as everyday solutions for universal access. Real-time captioning (CART) and captioned web-videos similarly ‘give’ verbal dialogue to deaf/hard-of-hearing people, or those with English as a second language.
Nascent Technology Markets
Too many firms (technology and other) don’t stop to think how minor tweaks to their products or services might benefit a segment of their user-base. It’s akin to these firms saying “we don’t have any customers who’re deaf”. They do. Those customers don’t always self-identify, but are a valuable pool of existing or potential customers.
Off-the-shelf technologies such as whiteboards, smart-phone applications or microcircuit parts (for example) can be customised to make ‘new’ products for daily use by students, employees or people who are deaf and/or hard-of-hearing.
Communication Access Realtime Translation
CART is an example of a customised technology solution from redirecting stenography tools and skills (stenotyping) to benefit a person or audience with hearing issues while providing a transcript of a lecture or a class.
In Australia, a deaf high-school student told how CART support at school led him to consider a possible career as a computer programmer. Researchers in the US also found deaf students’ retention rates and learning to improve in technology-rich classrooms with tablet PCs and collaborative software.
With this technological advantage, the value of re-designing a firm’s existing products and services to benefit students with hearing issues, is very clear.
- Deaf Children and Inclusive Education (Disability Law News, March 2010)
- Educators Piloting Avenue PM Literacy Software
- Hearing The Internet Of Things
- Customising Sound Technologies For Personal Use
- CinemaConnect And MobileConnect Clarify Sounds
- Playlists Simplify Music For Implant Wearers
- Hearing-Aids And Parents Boost Kids’ Vocabulary
- Touch-Screen Technology Boosts Literacy In Deaf Children
- IDK’s Technology-Education Event (October 10th, 2011)
- iPhone FaceTime App Levels The Video-Chat Field