Welcome to the 4th installment of this series. Today is about communication,
I'll cover a few things that can ease communication between a Deaf individual and a hearing individual.
History has always been trying to find a way to "fix" deafness. Then with the rise of the latest technology, people are pushing for more solutions to communicate with the Deaf community.
But, we've always had the perfect communication tool for us all along - our hands.
So, you need to work with us and facilitate any method of ASL instead. These include:
Non-Technical Methods of Communication
What do you do when you meet a Deaf person? Here's a fun video:
That's a start.
The best method - ask the person what their preferred method is. Here are some more resources:
Products for Communication
Now a few products to ease communication for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people:
* MyEar App - I reviewed this app last year and it's pretty effective if you have wifi or internet and are in a quiet surrounding.
* Ava App - Another speech to text app that some of my Deaf friends have used.
* sComm ubiDuo - May be used for those with a strong understanding of English and don't sign.
* HandTalk App - Relatively new, it translates speech into Sign Language. Right now it's only available in Brazilian Sign Language.
* Mimix3D Sign Language Translator - Translates spoken and written English into ASL via a 3D avatar.
These are just a few of what's available, but it all depends on the individual's preference - so please respect what they prefer.
Disclosure: Some links contain affiliate links & I may receive compensation from them
Welcome to the first installment of this series - products for the home.
I know for the Deaf (Culturally Deaf), this is "old news", but I'm aiming towards the newly deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people for awareness and understanding.
First let's talk about the optimum home layout for the Deaf.
The "Deaf Space" consists of maximizing proximity, acoustics (vibrations), lighting, colors, and transparency in a home (or building).
Let's use the photo above for an example, the couch allows Deaf people to see each other easily while chatting, lot's of natural lighting available, and the open space concept means that a Deaf person upstairs can wave and get the attention of another downstairs.
Other ideas would be open kitchens where there's access to the living room, wood floors to carry vibrations (stomp on the floor to get attention from across the room) and clear sight lines for chatting and visual alerts.
Now let's look at some products:
There are a wide of variety of visual alert systems on the market - sold as combo sets or single purpose use.
First, what is a visual alert system? A visual alert is a system to monitor the home and alerts the deaf or hard of hearing person of noise in their surroundings. Sounds such as the doorbell, telephone, baby crying, alarm clock, smoke alarm, and anything you set it for.
Like I said, there are many different products available, but I'll discuss the one I use - the Clarity Alertmaster. The main unit is set up in my bedroom (because of the alarm clock and bedshaker), and has a lamp plugged into it. There's a wireless doorbell attached to the front door, a receiver attached next to the smoke alarm, and the landline can be plugged into the back of the unit for phone calls. There are receiver units set up in different rooms in the house for alerting as well. Extra receivers and sound monitors can be bought as well.
I know you don't need additional products for closed-captioning as all televisions are required to have it installed. Many channels and streaming services offer it as well (not all, but most).
But I brought this up as I've seen many, many stories of hearing family members complaining about having the captioning on for their deaf or hard of hearing member.
Yes, I'm serious.
There are folks, who disregard the needs of their deaf or hard of hearing family member to fully participate because they're annoyed by the moving text. What does that attitude appear to that deaf or hard of hearing member? Dismissive, uncaring, unloving - drives a bigger divide between the two of you.
Just turn it on and after a while you won't notice it. Besides 80% of caption users aren't even deaf or hard of hearing - use it for understanding accents, loud backgrounds, and other situations where you might miss what's said.
TV Viewing - Other than Captioning
If you have residual hearing you depend on for listening, but turning up the television volume bothers other family members (and possibly your neighbors), there are a few options for TV viewing:
* Wireless Earbuds - For those with mild loss and don't use hearing aids, or to wear without hearing aids.
* Wireless Headphones - The same as above but have full headphones to ear over ears and may fit over some hearing aids.
* Listening Loops - Worn around the neck, this works with the hearing aid's telecoil to wireless transfer sound to your heaing aid.
Yes, Deaf and Hard of Hearing folks can use phones, just in a different way that you're accustomed to.
Here are several phone options:
* Amplified Phones - have extra loud ringers, volume controls, and are hearing aid compatible.
* Captioned Phones - Works with a relay operator to caption the other person's portion of the conversation. The user speaks and reads the responses.
* VideoPhones - These are provided by a number of Videophone companies - either a machine attached to your television, a website to access, or an app to download. I personally support Convo as they're owned by Deaf folks.
* Cell phones - I can't tell you what cell phone would be best for you as that's all personal choice, prices, carriers, and a lot more. But I can tell you about a cool product to use with your cell phone so you won't miss any notifications - a bluetooth vibrating alarm. This connects wirelessly to your smartphone, stick the bedshaker alarm under your mattress or bed (or in your chair or couch), and receive vibration alerts for phone calls, texts, or whatever you set it for.
Now, what about emergencies?
If you live in weather-prone areas, such as myself in Oklahoma (Tornado Alley), you'd want to be alerted for severe weather. I use a Weather Alert Radio with a Strobe light. It does come with a vibrating bedshaker, but I love the strobe light as it helps emphasize the importance of the alert. With the regular lamp and bedshaker I can choose to ignore it - "let hubby get it", but with the strobe light, I know "get up NOW!"
Other resources you can read about adapting your home for hearing loss are:
* 6 Important Fire Safety Precautions for Families with Disabled Children
* Home Alarm Systems for People with Hearing Loss
* Designing & Redesigning Homes for the Deaf
* Hearing Loss affects the Entire Family
If you have other suggestions or questions, feel free to contact me.
Disclosure: Some links contain affiliate links & I may recieve compensation from them.
I admit I had trouble coming up with something to focus on for Deaf Awareness Week.
I knew social media would be flooded with a multitude of different posts, vlogs, videos, and so on....all celebrating, educating, sharing, and more.
I didn't want to sound like a broken record, or get get skipped over because people "saw it already".
So, what do I do?
Discuss one major hangup between the Deaf and the "Hearing" or General Public:
Stop Pigeonholing the Deaf
Yep, stop pigeonholing those who are Deaf.
Stop assuming that "you've met one deaf person, you've met them all". We are as wide and varied as any other community with only one common link - we're Deaf. (And even that isn't common - there's s spectrum of hearing loss too).
I've heard so many stories among the Deaf community of different incidents that happened:
Those in the Deaf community come from different backgrounds, other cultures, different schooling, different experiences, have different talents, different jobs, and so on.
So, next time you meet a deaf person, it's just someone with hearing loss - first simply find out what communication method they'd like "how can we communicate better?" Text, pen & paper, lipreading, ASL interpreter, and so on. They'll be glad to tell you. Then just go about how you would treat anyone else!
Now Switching the Tables
Now I'm going to switch things up and address the Deaf community.
Stop pigeonholing the Hearing community!
Lately, I've seen a rash of posts and videos going around ranting about hearing people's audism against the Deaf community. Yes, sadly it happens frequently, but I'm not addressing that here. I've seen different wordings that are pigeonholing the hearing community. Such as:
See? "You hearies", "you as a hearing group"....you are also pigeonholing the general public that can hear.
Yes, there has been negative incidents on both sides but it's unfair to those who are innocent bystanders.
So, stop pigeonholing everyone and treat everyone as a first-timer into your world.
Many times when people find out out someone is deaf or hard of hearing, the first question is usually:
"Can you read lips?"
Why? Why do people assume that all of "us" can lipread? Maybe you don't realize how hard it is to lipread and master it?
Let me explain:
Only 30% of what is said can be seen clearly on the lips. (And that's by skilled readers too). That's 3 out of 10 words! Most of it is guesswork.
Here's an example of how it's done.
Photo Transcript can be read here.
Pretty difficult right?
Don't forget there's eye fatigue and headaches that goes along with heavy lipreading.
How to Help
You can help ease the strain and stress by helping us out by:
How did you do? Harder than it looks eh?
One final suggestion:
Instead of asking:
We've all seen the News of the futuristic technology coming out, such as the new cochlear implant that has no external parts, sign language translation programs, and cool animated interactive sign language.
But what about those people that these technologies cannot help, or for those who don't want to be "fixed"?
If you ask me, researchers should also include adaptive technology for these people as well.
So here are my ideas for adaptive technology that we'd really need and want:
1. Text Based Technology
We need better speech to text technology! One that will work with any speaker and accents and a higher rate of accuracy. Yes there are a lot of programs and Apps out there, but I'm talking about something that doesn't require pre-programming to the speaker beforehand and one that actually WORKS!
Need an example? Turn on "automatic captioning" on pretty much any YouTube video and you'll see what I mean. WTH right??
2. Access for the Deafblind
Sure the animated sign language is awesome, and who knows maybe someday there'll be holographic interpreters than can beam into a meeting and interpret right there. But what about those who cannot see and depend on tactile sign language?
Sure there's the face-to-face texting capability of text to braille and vice versa; or the Lorm glove that vibrates out the alphabet on the Deafblind person's hand. There's several problems with these:
3. Improved GPS Systems
Sure there's tons of GPS Apps and gadgets out there and even newer Apps that are mapping indoor spaces for Blind/Deafblind people, which is great, but they need improvement.
But we all know they aren't specific and sometimes are wrong. Even my home address is displayed wrong by 50 feet! So when trying to "Find a Friend" you can be at their location but still be 25 feet away! This isn't helpful for Deafblind people trying to find a location or a friend (I can't even see past 6 feet let alone 25 feet).
4. Just stick to what works!
Instead of trying to invent gadgets and technology to help YOU (the general public) why don't you try and help US?
So, are there any technologies you'd wish there was? Let me know!
The medical and scientific developments of our times have introduced a breakthrough to enhance our lifestyles in many ways. A plethora of options is available to help us lead a better life. Auditory training is one of those that help those with hearing loss.
Listening to specially filtered and modulated audio does create a colossal difference in our mind and our hearts.
Basic Advantages of Auditory Training:
This is what makes it reliable and popular. Its long lasting and satisfactory results and served the purpose of the patients.
A combination of various methods is used such as:
Helping in normalization of speech is another perk of this process. Auditory training is helpful for almost all age groups and so this is available for a large number of people. It works on the basic principles of biology and hence the crux of mechanism of the central nervous system is understood well by the training and can work with depth to cure disorders.
Other Crucial Aspects of Auditory Training
These trainings are conducted informal setups and informal setups as well, depending upon what is best for the patients. The pre and post auditory based training helps to detect and focus on the problem and deal with the issue in depth.
Rehab and systematic review is the basic advantage of the training. Descriptive cross-sectional studies are not randomized and hence, the nerve simulations and impulse is studied carefully and properly. Sheer perfection of outcome can be attained if the sessions are attended regularly. Modification of neuro-plasticity is another effective option that most people have to go through. This training has helped a lot of people to recover from their disorders and hence, pros and cons of this training are to be known for its own benefit.
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