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Technologies for People with Hearing Loss/Impairment

Technology advancements led to the development of assistive devices to help individuals who are hard of hearing.

Whether it’s auditory or visual help, the bottom line is to aid in expressing thoughts more clearly and meaningfully so people can accomplish more in their day-to-day lives.

To get to the heart of the matter, we’ve asked some people to share their thoughts on assistive technologies for the hearing impaired. Here’s what they have to say:

Technologies for Hearing Loss

Amal Shashinath

Amal has been using hearing aids for quite sometime—he has transitioned from larger HAs back in the day to more sleek and comfortable ones today.

hearing aids
Amal wearing his old hearing aid.

Do you think technology has come a long way in helping people with hearing loss/impairment?

Yes, technologies have gone a long way to help hearing impaired persons.

Most of hearing aids were very large in early 2000 now it’s very smart and comfortable and also less visible.

What assistive technologies for the deaf do you know about or have used? Do you think they significantly helped those with hearing loss?

Hearing aids mostly and cochlear implants.

Which devices or tools would you recommend to those who are finding the right assistive device for their hearing loss? Why?

I used FM technology.

FM systems used for students.

Microphone used by teachers so sounds directly goes to hearing aids to impaired ones.

hearing aid
hearing aids

What do you think can be improved in the current technologies that aim to help people with hearing loss?

Hearing aids should be more amplified and less visible. That might need improvement.

Jeffrey Frady

Jeffrey uses different technologies to help him, including bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, a bluetooth streaming device, and a smart watch.

Do you think technology has come a long way in helping people with hearing loss/impairment?

Yes and no. There are lots of ways that technology helps with hearing loss, however, new platforms often forget to support those with hearing loss that could benefit from them.

As an example, as we move away from consuming video content on cable TV, streaming services and video may not often provide captioning. My company requires yearly training online that includes videos without captioning.

What assistive technologies for the deaf do you know about or have used? Do you think they significantly helped those with hearing loss?

I know about CART, live captioning apps, captioning devices at movie theaters, hearing aids, implants, streaming devices, smart watches.

My hearing aids help me tremendously, however, that is because I live in the hearing world.

Which devices or tools would you recommend to those who are finding the right assistive device for their hearing loss? Why?

I believe people should use the tools that work for them.

I like using my bluetooth enable hearing aids for taking phone calls and listening to podcasts.

I use a bluetooth streaming device with my computer for watching movies (with some audio delay). 

I occasionally use a smart watch to control my hearing aids (does not work perfectly).

What do you think can be improved in the current technologies that aim to help people with hearing loss?

Building devices and platforms from the start with people with hearing loss in mind.

Apple likes to promote their products as being hearing aid compatible and then whenever a new iOS update comes out, my phone becomes useless for weeks or months at a time because they did not bother to test it.

Just because there is an assistive technology available does not mean it works or works well. Most things do work to some extent but does not get us 100% the way there.

With all of that said, it seems like we have to make a lot of adjustments to get by in the hearing world where a lot of the effort is on our part.

Derek Troy

Derek sells bikes and have benefitted from the use of smartphones and social media, such as Facebook Messenger.

Do you think technology has come a long way in helping people with hearing loss/impairment?

When I started selling bikes, I would use paper and pen. Now I can text or use Facebook messenger.

What assistive technologies for the deaf do you know about or have used? Do you think they significantly helped those with hearing loss?

I wore hearing aids 30 years ago. Whether they help or not is up to each person.

I used to use TDD. These days, we have smartphones.

Which devices or tools would you recommend to those who are finding the right assistive device for their hearing loss? Why?

Some of them would benefit from VCO phones. It won’t benefit me.

What do you think can be improved in the current technologies that aim to help people with hearing loss?

Implants would be good for those who don’t have Deaf Identity.

Andrew Clark

Andrew believes that technology for assistive hearing devices will continue to improve in the coming years.

Do you think technology has come a long way in helping people with hearing loss/impairment?

Yes (has for me in last years anyways).

What assistive technologies for the deaf do you know about or have used? Do you think they significantly helped those with hearing loss?

Hearing Aids, alarm clocks, special phones (speech to text technology), telecoil and or bluetooth connection to cell phones, pocket microphones (connect to hearing aids for rooms with lots of people and you need to hear one specific person), dehumidifier/ dryer boxs, and also the doctors ways of completing test and checking logs of the hearing aids.

Which devices or tools would you recommend to those who are finding the right assistive device for their hearing loss? Why?

Anything above that is needed for that person. Or more.

What do you think can be improved in the current technologies that aim to help people with hearing loss?

Getting the knowledge out to people of the available devices, better test, and I think the technology will keep advancing for many years to come. Definitely need to be more water proof.

K. Mowen

K. Mowen has been using hearings aids since the ’60s and used more improved versions since then. He believes that technologies for people with hearing impairment should be cheaper and more accessible.

Do you think technology has come a long way in helping people with hearing loss/impairment?

For me, YES! I started wearing HAs (hearing aids) in 1964. My very first aid was a “body aid”. That did NOT work for an active 6 year old.

I then started wearing BTE (Behind the ear) aids, that were “analog” style. I wore that type until 2007 or so.

Then I got the “digital” type, and that opened up my world to loop systems, Bluetooth, clarity in sound, better tuning as well as more durable.

What assistive technologies for the deaf do you know about or have used? Do you think they significantly helped those with hearing loss?

Closed captioning on the TV is my number one. Movie captioning would be a very close second.

I have used the following: TTD (teletype device), loop systems, FM systems, CART (Communication Access Real Time Translation), several different apps on my phone and laptop.

Yes, unfortunately, a lot of people either don’t know about them or know how to use them.

 

Which devices or tools would you recommend to those who are finding the right assistive device for their hearing loss? Why?

Contact the local office of the state Deaf and Hard of Hearing(or similar), support groups, and the internet, in that order.

Because there is a lot useful options out there, most really good, some not so good, and some just rip offs.

What do you think can be improved in the current technologies that aim to help people with hearing loss?

Make the technology more accessible and lower in price.

Hearing aid prices are exorbitant, and profit margins are really high. Bring the new technology to the masses faster.

Since communication is a huge aspect of our daily lives, continuous efforts must be made on technologies dedicated to people with hearing loss. Although many devices live up to their name as assistive devices, there are still some that need further improvements to truly match the needs of the hard of hearing.

Furthermore, many individuals expressed their desire for increased awareness and accessibility so more people can enjoy assistive technologies. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing these developments soon so everyone can communicate with ease.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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