Living with hearing loss can be a major challenge, and those in the deaf and hard of hearing community struggle to communicate and be included in the activities of daily life. Even 10 years ago, hearing loss could make it difficult for you to get a job, excel at university, or develop strong relationships. New technologies are being developed every day, and these advancements in tech are improving life for people with hearing loss.
Technology for People with Hearing Loss
The number of Americans with hearing loss continues to rise, and as the baby boomer generation ages, the need for accessible technology increases. One organization developing accessible technology is the Center on Access Technology, a part of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. They develop technological solutions to increase accessibility and inclusion in many fields, and work tirelessly to improve the lives of people with hearing loss.
Creating Translation Technology
If you know American Sign Language (ASL), communicating is easy with others who can sign. However, if you’re trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t know sign language, and you can’t read lips, communication immediately breaks down. New translation technology is making communication easier than ever before. For example, you can use an automatic translation service to scan a video of someone signing, and receive an automatic text translation of everything that’s been signed, so that you can communicate easily with someone who doesn’t know ASL.
Augmented Reality Technology
When it comes to real time translation, augmented reality technology can change the way you communicate. The Center on Access Technology has created a prototype application for the HoloLens augmented reality device. You can wear the device and activate the app, allowing to you access a holographic sign language interpreter. You can place the interpreter in any part of the room, and the automatic speech recognition will translate everything that’s being spoken in to ASL for easy understanding. You’ll be able to understand and participate in conversations with ease, and you can be truly integrated into your team at the office, adding your valuable insight and expertise to accomplish goals and collaborate with your coworkers.
Workplaces are becoming more inclusive as industry leaders are recognizing the valuable contributions of those with disabilities. 30% of those with disabilities are in the workforce, and creating inclusive workplaces allows companies to tap into the unrealized potential of thousands of workers. As more and more people are included in workplaces, industries will experience major boosts in output and productivity, and it’s in their best interested to find new and innovative ways to create accessible spaces.
Another revolutionary accessibility technology is in the field of haptics, or using sensations rather than sounds to experience music. You can feel sensations on your skin that correspond to the sounds happening around you, and can experience sound and music along with your hearing peers. Attending a concert while wearing a sound vest allows you to connect with the music through vibration, and you can feel the music in a whole new way.
If you’re an art lover, you often wish museums and art galleries were more accessible. Many museums have audio guides that provide more information on the pieces displayed, but these aren’t accessible for everyone. New technology has allowed for greater inclusivity, and you can use an app to find out more about what you’re seeing. Simply approach a piece of art, connect to the app, and learn more about the art in spoken English, ASL, and through a visual description. You can discover your favorite pieces all over again, and enjoy the same access as your hearing peers.
Hearing Health in Portland
Are you struggling to hear? Are you curious about the technologies that could make your world more accessible? Visit us today at Hearing Health to look after your hearing. We’ll perform a hearing test to determine your unique hearing needs, and make suggestions about the best hearing devices to help you hear in every situation. With directionality mics, background noise reduction and speech enhancement, you’ll easily hear it all. Streaming features allow you to connect your phone or TV right to your devices, and you will be able to enjoy the world around you along with your hearing peers.