Hearing loss is often permanent and can be managed rather than cured using appropriate aids. One of the most sought-after types of aids are the mobile phones for the hard of hearing, a group of handsets specifically designed with the hard of hearing in mind.
These devices used to include only the most basic of features such as extra loud speech and ringer functions, phone book, SMS capabilities, saved numbers, hearing aid compatibility via the T setting and so on. However, in recent months we have started to see a trend of leading manufacturers bridging the gap between their handsets and smart phones in terms of features. These features include an integrated camera and a clamshell exterior design that users find more ergonomically comfortable. It also helps make their voice clearer to the person on the other side due to the proximity of the microphone to their lips. And... we might even see Internet browser navigation pretty soon. All in all recent trend includes:
- Clearer navigation and menu
- Integrated camera with flash
- Games and accessories
- Smaller in size and lighter in weight
- Better use of exterior materials
- MMS and picture sending capabilities
It seems that even the mighty smart phone manufactures are taking notice. Apple's new iOS5 Software which is now available in Beta version includes, for the first time, a hearing aid mode designed to improve the compatibility between its flagship iPhone and digital hearing aids. So it seems that while mobile phones for the hard of hearing are getting more feature rich, smart phones such as the iPhone are also becoming more usable for the hard of hearing, although it does cost nearly £500 versus a typical amplified handset which starts at around £59.99.