With changing technology around us, we tend to take it for granted and rarely think of its vast usefulness and applications for different situations. Smart phones offering a whole host of additional functions beyond that of making and receiving calls are now common place. However, they still broadly offer the same thing: they allow us to communicate in various ways, quickly and efficiently wherever we are.
Hard of hearing and deaf people are not limited in use these developments in technology and fortunately they have access to an array of assistive devices that can help them with their hearing impairment and communication needs. Videophones and Minicoms have been available for those who are hard of hearing and want to communicate with others. While those models require a camera or a Minicom on the other side of the conversation, the modern mobile phones allow the users to be flexible and have all they need in one device.
Mobile phones are now available not only for hard of hearing with different levels of hearing loss but also for deaf people. These mobile phones can be used for calls, emergency contacts, and texting and video conferencing. They make it possible for deaf people to enjoy immediate communication and give them independence to have a real time conversation and exchange information.
The most widespread type of mobile phone for the deaf is the text phone. Many contemporary models are specifically designed to be used mainly for texting and are adapted for people with a hearing difficulty. The text phone has a display screen and a keyboard. While with the regular phone, the users speak into the microphone, with the text phone they can type their messages and read them on the screen. You can use the texts options to send an SMS, have a text conversation or for instant messaging.
Texting between parties is one option for communication. However, Action on hearing loss (formerly RNID) offers a service for landlines and for mobile phones that can assist in the communication between mixed hearing participants. With the help of the Text Relay service, a relay operator translates between text and voice and facilitates the dialogue, either by reading the texts or by typing the voice messages for the deaf person. You can use the text phone service by dialling 18001 or 18002 if you have a videophone.
Software for mobile phones
Many applications will also let you use video for communication with sign language. Most modern mobile phones and smartphones have integrated front cameras. For high quality video calls, you can use FaceTime if you have an Apple product or myFriend for Android smartphones.