Aging Tech

How The Humble Cell Phone Has Empowered The Deaf Community

It can often be surprising how technology affects parts of the world that you’d often least expect. Usually, when you think about cellphone technology, the deaf community isn’t the first group that would pop into your head. But the truth is that cellphones have profoundly affected the deaf community in terms of allowing them to communicate and organize effectively.

How The Humble Cell Phone Has Empowered The Deaf Community

Cell phone – Shutterstock

Texting Communication

As it turns out, unlimited texting plans are a huge boon to deaf persons. This is because they can use the texting options to send messages back and forth among deaf people to communicate effectively despite any potential barriers.

Video Chatting and the Deaf Community

Video chatting is another one of those areas of technology that people would normally discount as being useful to the deaf. But it’s been transformative as well since it allows deaf people to practice their American Sign Language to communicate with one another in a language much more natural to them. More specifically, students at the University of Washington worked on something called MobileASL which was a device created specifically to help deaf people communicate over video chat with ASL.

Deaf People Overseas

And this isn’t just happening in the United States either. Deaf children in Uganda are benefiting from cellphone technology when it comes to texting as well. This is because it creates a kind of equality between mainstream children who can hear and their deaf counterparts. When it comes to texting, reading and writing skills are the only ones that matter. Once deaf children figure out how to do this, they tend to respond much better. Many children become depressed when they can’t communicate with people around them.

The Quest for Normal

One of the biggest problems in terms of the deaf community relating to those outside is one of integration. People might think of deaf people as being fundamentally different from themselves. This leads to a lot of problems such as making it more difficult for deaf people to get work, for example.  Luckily, there are many government funded programs encouraging this to change. Employers might be skeptical about the ability of deaf people to do the same work as those who can hear. But when it comes to using texting as a deaf person, this is something that can even the score. After all, it’s not like you know anything about someone using technology like phone text or just writing stuff on the internet in general.

Technology like the Internet is something of a great equalizer. Everyone is the same when they write a text; all that matters is the English literacy skills. Additionally, it this technology makes it a lot easier for deaf people to relate to other members of society. The Internet is one of the primary ways of socializing these days, making it different than times in the past where you mostly had to speak in person. Additionally, new technology coming out such as real time transcription will make it possible for deaf people to read what other people are saying on digital displays.