A Push for More Accessibility with Product Design

A Push for More Accessibility with Product Design

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | April 30th, 2019

Duane L. Smelser

Duane's personal and professional life has been about making a difference in the quality of people’s lives. After 15 years as a Team Building and Communication Consultant to organizations,his wife Donna introduced him to the idea of being a Hearing Instrument Specialist.The more he explored this profession, the more he saw an opportunity to make a profound difference with people and families.
Duane L. Smelser

Hearing technology continues to improve each year, and today’s devices are capable of some pretty amazing things. They reduce back ground noise and help you focus on speech sounds, giving you even better hearing in noise than people with normal hearing. They can be effortlessly connected to your smartphone, and stream audio, music, and calls directly to your devices. They can even switch between programs and settings automatically so that you’ll hear clearly without ever having to lift a finger. With all this incredible hearing technology available, there’s a push for more accessibility with product design to make the world even more accessible for those with hearing loss.

 

Remarkable Product Design

The products we use every day continue to improve, and everything from our kitchen appliances and washing machines to our computers and cellphones would be barely recognizable to someone even 10 or 15 years ago. However, all this technology that makes our lives simpler and safer hasn’t been designed with accessibility in mind. For example, most of the kitchen appliances you use every day can’t be used safely by someone with a vision impairment, and those with mobility issues continue to struggle just to get around the city, drive a vehicle, or enter buildings.

 

Why Does Accessibility Matter?

As the market for products continues to grow, manufacturers are realizing how many of their customers care about accessibility. New technologies don’t benefit everyone, and making more accessible technology would allow companies to reach more people. Accessible product designs are the key to having a more integrated society, and creating equal opportunities for everyone.

The Centers for Disease Control states that 25% of adults in the workplace have a disability that affects their lives! If one quarter of adults have accessibility issues, then creating accessible products for them would allow them to participate in their communities and contribute to their work in new and impactful ways. Our society can only improve as we give everyone the opportunity to grow.

 

Accessible Products We Need

There are a number of fantastic products that increase accessibility for those with hearing loss. T-coils are being more widely used in auditoriums and large venues, allowing those with hearing aids to tap into the sound system and hear everything right in their ears. Some airports, and train and bus stations offer text notifications about gate or time changes, so even if you can’t hear or understand the PA system, you won’t need to stress about missing your flight. Real time captioning is available in some workplaces, helping employees keep up with the meeting, and easily add their expertise to the issue being discussed. Some doorbells and house alarms have added flashing light notifications, and fire alarms include a flashing light.

Other accessible products we need include more visual warnings and alarms on home appliances. If you leave dinner in the oven and forget all about it, you probably won’t hear the soft beeping of the stove timer. A flashing light or loud chime could make all the difference to having a delicious dinner, or having a burnt mess. Forgetting food in the oven can also be a major safety hazard.

We also think more real time captioning features should be available everywhere, not just in a board room setting. For example, museums or galleries often have audio installations, and they could benefit from a visual text display, allowing everyone to engage with the piece.

 

Treating Hearing Loss

While accessible product design can help keep you safe and allow you to integrate into society, if you’re struggling to hear, the best think you can do is treat your hearing loss with a quality pair of hearing devices. You’ll be able to hear all the sounds around you, and you won’t have to worry about missing an alarm. With hearing aids, you can hear clearly in every listening environment, and you won’t struggle while you wait for more accessibly products.

 

Hearing Health in Portland

Visit us today at Hearing Health in Portland to find out more about the hearing technology that will make your life better. We’ll suggest the perfect devices that will give you back your ability to hear in every listening environment, so don’t wait another day, but call us today and get back to hearing.

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