Designing Accessible Technology

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Technology is useful and accommodating. Over the years products have been modified to make life easier for those who are hearing impaired and every day something new pops up. There are products just for the hearing impaired and every day items modified to be more accommodating to the hearing impaired. One of the first steps to making sure you’ve got the tools you need to be successful if you have hearing loss is getting a hearing test at Hearing Spa of Florida. This will help us help you get a program that will have you living a full life.

Universal design is changing

Universal design used to mean designing for the physically challenged. Wider doorways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, no rise thresholds, lower cabinets and vanities to make kitchens and bathrooms more user friendly. Now, universal design has been expanded to include design to accommodate and assist visual and hearing impairments as well as mental challenges. And much of these access aids involve technology. There are now college courses and college majors involving accessible technology!

 

Access and every day life

How does a person with hearing loss hear a knock at the door or the baby crying. How do the hearing impaired watch television or make their homes accessible and safe? Through the use of technology.
The use of assistive technology and devices helps those in the hearing impaired community with various solutions to what used to seem as a large auditory hurdle. Higher volumes, visual cues and tactile feedback improve access. Every day devices are equipped with amplified sound or alternative alerting methods to provide the proper cues for the hearing impaired. Many of the everyday alert items are, or likely will be soon, adapted to phones so a vibration will alert an individual.

 

Wake up alarms

Wake up alarms either vibrate or flash a light and can be attached to a regular clock. They can also be put under a pillow or near the bed.

 

Door lights

Door signalers flash a light when someone rings the doorbell, or, if its an apartment, they can be hung on the door and the vibration of knocking causes them to flash. Newer models activate a wireless pager to alert an individual or the pager flashes when the doorbell is pressed.

 

Baby cry lights

These can be part of a broader signaling system or they can function independently. They can be adjusted in sensitivity to pick up any sound a baby makes, or baby crying.

 

Smoke alarms/carbon monoxide alarms

These can be hardwired in a home system or plugged in and they either flash a strobe light or emit an extremely loud tone. A single transmitter can be connected to multiple receivers so the alarms alert throughout the house or a building. Vibration systems are also available, and some people make use of both alerts.
Systems can be set up so different light colors flash for smoke versus carbon monoxide or different flash sequences can be used to differentiate between the two issues.

 

Phone signalers

Although the use of phone land lines have decreased markedly in the past few years, adaptive technology is still available for those who have kept their land lines. Either a flashing light or a loud tone will signal when the phone is “ringing” and remote receivers can alert individuals to a call throughout the house.

 

Hearing aid technology

They are smaller, more powerful, more discreet and more versatile. Hearing aids can now be adjusted remotely, charged on a charger instead of replacing batteries and with GPS chips can remember settings and adjust when you return to an area. There are hearing aids for musicians that have better sound quality adjustments and wireless streaming to your hearing aids from electronic devices. Soon hearing aids will be able to send medical information to your doctor and have a balance alert in case of a fall!

And if you are concerned your hearing aids are too high tech, there are great helplines from all of the companies that manufacturer hearing aids and the staff at Hearing Spa is always ready to help. Call today for a hearing evaluation and we can help you with any additional technology to make your life better and easier!


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