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Editorial #67-3 Things the Hearing People Have the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community to Thank For

Dr. Z did some research and looking back on technological developments the past 100 years, he has identified 3 things that hearing people have the deaf and hard of hearing people to thank for.

The first is the telephone-which supposedly came about while Alexander Graham Bell was working on an hearing aid for his deaf wife, Mabel. Out of that work, he came up with the telephone, which the deaf people didn’t have full benefit until almost 75 years later with the development of the TTY modem by Robert Weitbrecht.

The second thing is closed captioning. When the concept was first brought to the public in the 1970’s, the hearing community found it distracting and they went back to the drawing boards and made captioning “closed” instead of “open”. Today, we see captioning in bars and gyms and well-used by hearing people. Without captioning, they would be “deaf” in those environments to enjoy TV.

The deaf people were quick to pick up video communication when it was first commercialized in 1999. For the past 11 years, the hearing community used video only in business environments to cut down on travel costs, and they did not think it would be useful in the consumer community–preferring voice communication instead. With the introduction of the Apple iPhone with FaceTime, the HTC EVO, the Apple iPod Touch and the Samsung Epic so far this year with front-facing cameras–the concept of video communication has been well received by the hearing community. The video app “Tango” for smartphones was downloaded a million times in just 10 days.

The bottom line–with a diverse community worldwide–each segment of the community has values and developments that benefit the rest of the community–this is true with those 3 developments Dr. Z just mentioned.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z is a contractor working with CSDVRS on several projects.

1 comment to Editorial #67-3 Things the Hearing People Have the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community to Thank For

  • Dr. Z – there’s also the now-common gps locator in cell phones, which was originally suggested as a solution by TDI and other organizations to cell phone manufacturers at a roundtable on emergency services for the deaf via cell 911 back in the mid-90’s when i was working at TDI. They balked at first, of course, due to the cost, but as we knew it would, the cost eventually came down to make it a feasible solution for cell phones. and now these gps locators are being used in apps on cell phones to do far more than any of us could have imagined or dreamed of back then.

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