People with impaired hearing have found they can easily adapt a personal computer for their use. You can find everything you need for the computer at any store that specializes in computer parts. However, if you happen to be deaf, this new concept is reminiscent of the invention of the telephone. For the first time, a deaf person can call someone on a computer and chat by using the keyboard and screen. Since the main way the information is being seen is through text, and the main way to communicate is through text, it’s easy.
These are both optical parts that never involve sound. Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDDs) are simplistic keyboards that display a single line of text, and occasionally they incorporate a printer that prints onto extra paper from the machine. However, TDDs do not work with the majority of today’s computers, even though there are more translation applications being made for the public. Most people will not buy this software if they don’t have a friend of family member who is hearing impaired.
I once had a conversation with a man who had been hearing impaired most of his life, and he shared a story with me. His response was that he educated himself on how to read print immediately at the age of three when his hearing disappeared; now, for the first time, he has the means to interact with people of normal hearing capacity through lip reading and writing to them in letters. He has the ability to speak with other writers over the phone, much like myself. His familiarity with TDD has been growing each day; he now talks to his wife daily regarding the news headliners, reserving hotels and booking train rides.
I really have no experience with TDDs though, because I don’t know anyone who suffers from profound hearing loss. I’m not trying to put them down, they are the first major step into the world of electronic communication for the deaf, and the microcomputer is next. For the people who own computers, do you believe TDDs are important to have?
As of today, getting a computer to interact with TDDs is a hard task. You have to find the proper software and install it. TDDs will be available for a long time, merely due to the number of people who make this changeover a gradual process. The second option they have is the microcomputer, which is expensive. You can find TDDs at a reasonable price of $200 or less.
What should a hearing impaired person hope to find in a computer, and do they need to be aware of any required specifications? There is nothing in particular one would need besides the ability to get on the internet. Is there anything in particular that the deaf or friends of the deaf should keep in mind when finding a computer? They need to keep the modem the first priority, more than the printer. A laptop is also a wonderful choice for communicating, if it is affordable for them, especially if it is first time computer purchase.
When caught in an emergency, an individual should call up CB and request that another individual places a voice call in their place. While this is purely speculative, it would probably take a bit of persuasion to make CB people understand their earnestness. A better approach would be to find an experimental network of bulletins that is being set up in different cities. That would be a great way to make emergency calls if needed, as well as providing information for those who would have no other way of receiving it.
I don’t know too much about them but I hear there are speech synthesizers you can attach to lap tops. If they work well, it wouldn’t be a far reach to think the synthesizer could attach to a phone. So how does a deaf person receive a reply or know if someone even answered? More hearing impaired are investing in computers each day because of the possibilities of communicating, and the job market for them is opening up to accept more and more people like this for their jobs. The ideal job for someone who is hearing impaired is word processing, data processing, or anything that does not require telephone interaction such as programming and more.