Deafness and Technology by Elliot Miller
Elliot Miller is a recipient of a 2018 Deaf Services Life Enrichment Grant to further develop Hearoes, an auditory training app for people with newly-installed cochlear implants. We asked him to talk about the role technology plays in the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing people.
Technology (and innovation) plays and amazing role in the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing people as it can provide an environment and access to learning tools and support to help them become independent and more involved with everyday activities. What we’re seeing now throughout the innovation process of technology, is a lot of the barriers and challenges, which were apparent 20-30 years ago being removed, with the help of both hardware and software, from hearing support devices to everyday experiences that we have are unheard of in today’s society.
For example, when mobile phones were first introduced to the market, they were designed only around verbal communication, whereas now, most (if not all) mobile phones have text or messaging capabilities, making it more accessible form of communication for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing to not only connect with their loved ones, but also others in the community as well, which has really opened up how we live now.
Although the technology is now more available and accessible than before, there are still some improvements which can be done around the experience for Deaf and hard of hearing communities. An example from just the other day from when I had cochlear implant mapping appointment had been postponed via text message, however, to check availability and reschedule a new appointment I had to contact them via phone call rather than replying to the text message or contacting them through TTY services, which makes it more challenging than it needs to be. I think, like the process of the mobile phone, as there is more accessibility and awareness for those involved in the developing technology we can start to see more innovation around the challenges that are still there for those experiencing the technology.
Elliot Miller is a recipient of a 2018 Deaf Services Life Enrichment Grant. Find out more about Elliot and Hearoes here.