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Technology for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Since Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the hearing aid, Technology is HUGE for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Share your interesting stories about technology and how it has support Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s lives.

26 Comments to Technology for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People:

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Krista Tudisco on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 11:51 AM
As I researched technology and the impact it has on Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I wanted to search for something I hadn’t heard of yet. I was reading one article and it mentioned a product called SubPac. This peeked my interest, so I clicked the link to read more. I have to say, today’s technology amazes me. What a cool product to bring music to those that would otherwise not “hear” it. In a nutshell, the SubPac is a wearable device that makes music tactile, feeling sound, instead of hearing it. Users wear two tactile transducers right on their back, so they feel the music’s vibration both directly and through bone conduction. Shaheem Sanchez, a deaf freestyle R&B and hip hop dancer, uses the SubPac. He said, “When I first tried it on, it felt like an earthquake took over my body…and that’s a good thing!” Without it, Sanchez said choreography is harder, having to rely on memorization of the beats and counting. “It’s amazing how you can feel it [music] just like everyone else. You can dance to the same song for both worlds (the hearing and the deaf),” he said. “Deaf people will never feel left out.” In the beginning, SubPac began as an aid for musicians and producers who wanted to feel bass they couldn’t easily hear. But deaf artists quickly joined the SubPac user base. When Nyle DiMarco competed on Dancing with the Stars, SubPac outfitted the guest section with seated versions of the device, so the audience could feel the beat as he danced. As a hearing person, after reading this article, I realized how much I take hearing music for granted. How exciting to have a product that can bring music to everyone. I would be curious to know if this is a realistic product for someone that is deaf or not so much.
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Francisco Garcia on Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:02 PM
I've never heard of this technology and I find it amazing. Deaf people not feeling left behind anymore. Yes that's what I want to hear. They should really invest into making this product. I'd definitely get it for my older brother. I would like him to experience feeling tbe vibrations going down his back of the music. It would seem scary at first but after getting used to it I think he would like it.

Cynthia Rivera on Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:23 PM
It is amazing how some people care and invent new technology to help Deaf and hard of hearing people as well. Now I know music is not only for the hearing world. I am glad there are inventors in this world who help the Deaf culture be equals to hearing people in the world. Sanchez and Dimarco are an example how they enjoy music, like anybody else. Both are show that being Deaf is not an impediment for them to continue and realize their passion.

Meghan Auclair on Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:47 PM
This invention was very interesting to read about because I've never heard of anything like this before! The other thing that I thought was interesting was that it wasn't created specifically for deaf people although it can be very beneficial for people like the dancer you mentioned.

Unnza Butt on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 8:40 PM
In 2016 Two undergraduate students at the University of Washington invented a game-changing invention: SignAloud Gloves. tThese gloves have the ability to recognize the motion of one's hand and whatever they are signing in ASL, and translate it into English aloud. Similar to hearing aids, these gloves can be used every day as they are light, easy to use, and only cover one's hand. I think if deaf people were to use this, they would have a lot easier time communicating with people. The only thing is, deaf people may still have trouble understanding what others are saying back to them, even if they can now sign and translate into English language.
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Krista Tudisco on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 10:11 PM
This article is an example of when innovative minds and technology merge. The SignAloud Glove and the concept behind it are forward thinking. Some questions came to mind while I was reading. If there is only one glove, what happens to the signs that use both hands? Or, like Unnza said, does this only benefit the hearing? Also, I got the impression the two inventors hoped to make a universal signing glove. As the article pointed out, ASL is it's own language and does not overlap other countries. I hope these two gentlemen continue to improve on their invention. This idea of making communication more accessible between the Deaf and hearing may one day be the norm. It might be as easy as looking at our watch.

Francisco Garcia on Thursday, April 13, 2017 7:47 PM
I've read about these gloves before. I feel as if it's a disadvantage though because sometimes what you may sign isn't what it will translate it too. I believe it will work they just need to make it the opposite way so the hearing can respond to the Deaf. If they're able to talk to the glove so that it can sign to the Deaf I believe it will be revolutionary. Little things like that are what make it better for hearing to communicate with the Deaf.

Cynthia Rivera on Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:16 PM
I read about this invention a couple months ago. It is impactful how two men worked to make a technological glove that made communication between Deaf community and the hearing world easier.This is a very wonderful invention for Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people in the world. I hope this technology becomes affordable and be helpful for all of them who use it.

Francisco Garcia on Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:48 PM
I was able to find a technology called Motion Savvy UNI. It was founded by a group of students from Rochester Institute. This technology is the very first two way communication software for the Deaf. It's able to translate ASL into speech and speech into text. The way it does that is by a camera that tracks the location of both hands and then fingers. I think it would work but you need to pay attention to their facial expressions not just their hands. Any technology that's coming out for the Deaf is able to work we just need to think of all the options.
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Krista Tudisco on Thursday, April 13, 2017 9:40 PM
This invention seems like a positive step for the Deaf and hearing worlds to come together. With the rate of advancements in technology, I wouldn't be surprised to see a product like this available to the masses sometime in the near future. Reading about this product and the product Unnza shared, the technology is there, it just seems to need fine tuning. For a deaf/hard-of-hearing person, to be able to walk into any store or business and ask questions using technology like this would be a huge breakthrough. It might even help extinguish the uncomfortable feeling hearing people tend to have when trying to communicate with a deaf person and vice-versa.

Cynthia Rivera on Thursday, April 13, 2017 9:20 PM
The article makes some good points about how some technology advancement has helped Deaf people and hard of hearing people to have better communication with the hearing world. For a long period in this country, technology changed very little for the Deaf community. Most inventions were made for the hearing world. Some inventions like Hearing aids, Cochlear implants, TTV phones, FM system, internet and cell phones have changed the Deaf culture. Thanks to technological advancement Deaf people have more opportunities in the hearing world. The article claims technology could be putting Deaf culture at risk. However, technology progress can provide good benefits to the Deaf community. One good factor is Deaf people could communicate easier with the people who don’t sign. Also with technological advancement Deaf people and hard of hearing don’t have to wait for interpreters. With the new technology, they will not have any difficulties in a conversation with the hearing world. All the new technology doesn’t change my opinion that the government should make a law of every school should teach at least the basic of ASL that way the hearing people and Deaf people can have more communication. It will be easier for Deaf and hard of hearing to communicate. Technological Advancements and their Affect on Deaf Culture - Lifeprint
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Sara Beltran on Monday, April 17, 2017 10:11 PM
I agree that technology, like most things, has is pros as well as its cons. While some members of the deaf community might feel threatened by technology advancements, others may feel empowered. Therefore, in order to accommodate everyone, there needs to be a healthy balance and people need to become familiar and educated on these new advancements in order to form a better understanding on the impact they can have on them as well as those around them.

Kirsten Mattson on Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:07 PM
When I was searching up technology for the Deaf I came across this device called Uni. It’s so new it’s still in the prototype stage. Uni is a type of interpreting device that was originally made to help Deaf people communicate with hearing people. Especially with helping them with finding work that is more than just washing dishes or other low paying jobs. Uni is a device that goes on an IPad or tablet. It has two cameras that read a person’s signs, gestures, and movements and translates them into spoken English. The devise uses a robotic voice similar to siri. As the hearing person responds in English the device uses voice recognition software to show the response in a text format. I think the coolest part about Uni is you can personalize specific signs. For example names signs, or signs that are specific to a certain area or region. This could help minimize the potential for error. I think this device will be very useful and beneficial for the Deaf community I hope to see the device in the future.
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Sara Beltran on Monday, April 17, 2017 10:06 PM
That is a very interesting concept. The unemployment rate for deaf and hard of hearing folks can be high sometimes so coming up with a way to potentially close that gap would benefit many people in the long run. I am curious to see how this device plays out beyond the prototype stage.

Lexie on Friday, June 16, 2017 11:42 PM
I think that this would be a very benefiting piece if technology for deaf people because it will help them with better and more employment

Sara Beltran on Monday, April 17, 2017 10:01 PM
I stumbled upon an article on the Atlantic written by someone in the deaf community. This author was raised learning ASL but has gravitated to oral education. The author discusses a new type of cochlear implant that can be worn outside rather than inside the ear. The device is currently being tested out at MIT and Harvard. The concern that the author has for this new piece of technology is:"Deaf people wearing internal cochlear implants will have trouble validating themselves as deaf to hearing people who don’t see a physical device on their heads. The loss of that visual cue will blur the line between the oral deaf and the hearing." I understand where this author is coming from while addressing this concern. Having a non visible cochlear implant can alter one's connection to the hearing world. However, it can impact one's connection to the deaf community as well. There is already so much division when it comes to devices such as cochlear implants. To some, it seems like using such devices is a way of trying to "fix" or "cure" being deaf. And that can be seem as offensive. Basically, this article went more into detail about an issue that I learned a little bit about last year in ASL 1 while reading "Deaf Like Me." There will always be a divide about what is the best way to go about being deaf or hard of hearing, the oral, or manual route? Everyone is entitled to make their own decisions, but there will definitely be opinions about it regardless.
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Jordyn Michaelson on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 9:54 AM
In my research for this assignment, I stumbled upon an article online from Forbes entitled, "4 Game-Changing Technologies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." I saw a couple of previously listed technologies from this blog in this article, but one that stood out to me was something called Solar Ear. Solar ear is a solar powered hearing aid battery that was designed to be manufactured and sold at a fraction of traditional costs. On top of that, the battery lasts for a significant amount of time longer than traditional hearing aid batteries (2-3 years as opposed to about one week). The idea behind this was to provide more low-income countries a more affordable opportunity to use hearing aids. The company also distributes full hearing aids with the Solar Ear battery at a much lower cost. So many people have difficulty accessing hearing aids because of the high cost. Hopefully this will lend its hand to becoming a much more effective way to sell and use hearing aids.
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Meghan Auclair on Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:39 PM
I think this is a great company. Especially because of how they are not only making rechargeable batteries for people who can't afford to buy new ones when the old ones die, but also selling hearing aids at a much more reasonable cost. It was crazy to hear about how high the prices on hearing aids are marked up here in the U.S. compared to how much they actually cost to make!

Ivelianisse Morales on Monday, April 24, 2017 10:24 AM
We used the same article! Yes, I saw the solar ear and wow what a great technology, my great aunt hates her hearing aids because she has to change the battery so often and because it is a bit pricey for her as well. I really hope that this become accessible to not just the developing companies but everyone, there is no need for them to be as expensive as they are. This is also a step forward for being green.

Meghan Auclair on Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:33 PM
The MotionSavvy Uni is a device and software that connect to a tablet to act as a translator between deaf and hearing people. It can translate spoken words to written words as well as sign language to spoken words. I think that when people see technology like this they tend to think that it is a perfect solution to all the communication problems that exist between spoken and signed language. But while watching MotionSavvy's video of the hearing children playing outside and the deaf girl being nervous to go hang out with them because of the language barrier, I couldn't help but think that the device looked sort of cumbersome. For meetings and doctors offices devices like this may be helpful, but for a kid like the one in the video it's not practical while riding bikes or playing basketball as it can be seen she wishes to do with the other kids. On the other hand someone else mentioned in the article said she was concerned about how it only took hand motions into account, but not body or face movements. Although the article does say that they are still improving the technology and wish to make it available for smart phones as an app which would make it more practical for everyday use, and that they also hoped to improve it so that it could track more than just hand movements.
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Dalimar Romero on Sunday, April 23, 2017 11:42 PM
I agree. It's practical for some situations but not others. I felt sad that the little girl felt scared to engage with the other kids. This technology is not practical for situationsome like these. And what's more interesting is that everyone who knows or is learning sign language knows that facial expressions are grammatical. They are an essentialol part of the language itself. I don't hope that the technology improves. It does have potential. But I wish that schools would offer sing language as a language courses so more people would learn and the barrier between hearing and deaf slowly decrease.

Cassidy Richter on Sunday, April 23, 2017 8:26 PM
It really continues to amaze me on how far we have far we have come for technology. Now I am a bit biased when is comes to technology, I do not like it and I feel like we'd all be better off without it but when it comes to technology such as this I become all dumbfounded and amazed. I found an article on this new device that has been created at Colorado State University that allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to hear with their tongues! The idea of this device is to "convert different patterns of vibrations that can be felt on the tongue and helps interpret sensations into sounds or words" this device is going to be made to resemble a mouth retainer that when a user presses there tongue against it, tiny electrodes then send patterns of impulses on the tongue and send signals to the brain. It is said in the article that it would take weeks or a couple months of training but eventually your brain will be able to recognize the tingles as sound. I just find this invention really neat. Who knew your tongue could do other things besides taste?
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Dalimar Romero on Sunday, April 23, 2017 11:32 PM
Wow. Kind of weird though too. It really is amazing how technology has grown in power. I think that as long as the person wants it, then power to that person for trying something completely new out. But I stand in my views that not every Deaf person needs or wants to be fixed. So let's hope that no one gets these things without concent.

Dalimar on Sunday, April 23, 2017 11:26 PM
I don't have much to say. The article I read was written by a lower case d person. That person agrees with the new technology that is being processed: an internal cochlear implant. It would be charged wirelessly and in a matter of minutes. It is a "cure" for those who belive that being deaf is a disability that can be fixed. I'm all for it if the person themselves want the device. But I don't agree with the extremes. Read about it and make your own opinion.
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Ivelianisse Morales on Monday, April 24, 2017 10:18 AM
Well, at least they got the title right, that does threaten deaf identity. I feel sad, "At 11 years old, I got my cochlear implant. Now, I am a member of the everyday hearing world, living in New York, and about to graduate from Pace University", that just breaks my heart. I mean sure it's a great step forward I have friends that are embarrassed of their CI's but to remove yourself from a community that is as loving as this one, I don't know.

Ivelianisse Morales on Monday, April 24, 2017 9:53 AM
I want to start off by saying that I don't like how this article refers to deafness. I loved the first technology that is mentioned MotionSavvy. A lot of my deaf friends use tablets when communicating with hearing people especially when going out to eat, this is basically that but they would sign into it and it speaks what they signed and then the other person speaks and what they say is written out and that way there can be a fluid conversation. The article mentions that the camera learns how the person signs and the person can add in custom signs as well. it was made and thought up by deaf students so I feel they would know if it was practical and it seems to me it is. MotionSavvy website:
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