Inspired by this thread, I’m curious - has the current level of technology made life dramatically better for the deaf?
In my opinion (as a deaf person), yes -
Closed captions allow people with hearing difficulties to watch television and movies.
Video chat such as Skype and Google+ Hangouts allows those who use sign language to communicate.
Loop systems can be installed to allow people who use hearing aids to turn their aids to a setting and hear more clearly in an open space, such as an auditorium, concert hall, etc.
Hearing aid and cochlear implant technology has advanced in amazing ways over the past 20 years. Some use Bluetooth technology and allow for better clarity and amplification.
I’ll probably think of more, but I have to run now.
I hadn’t thought about video chat for sign language.
I mentored a deaf kid in computer animation back in my Amiga days via TTY operator and that was a huge pain.
Thinking about it, I could probably do a good percentage of my work without my hearing, solely via text and e-mail. The main thing I’d find annoying is how few theaters are equipped with Rear Window captioning. The 21 screen AMC I go to most often only has it in one auditorium as far as I know.
As Stars Apart mentioned, cochlear implants have made huge advances. They can make a huge difference in the lives of those who are appropriate candidates (best candidate being a person with adult-onset deafness, probably next best would be deaf child implanted early, while least likely to have great outcome would be adult who has always been deaf and then gets an implant). Worst thing about cochlear implants is that they allow Rush Limbaugh to continue to rant and rave. Heh.
My two nephews were born deaf and got cochlear implants at a very young age. They were in a great school from infancy to just before kindergarten, and have been completely mainstreamed from kindergarten on. They can hear almost as well as someone with normal hearing. Sometimes they will miss things in a crowded room (and when they remove the external portion of their devices, such as to sleep or bathe). My youngest nephew’s speech is perfect, and my older nephew’s speech is near-perfect (he just doesn’t enunciate like he could; he does not drop ch, th, sh and S sounds like some deaf people do). Long response to say a resounding Yes! technology has been a godsend, at least in our family. It has changed my nephews’ disability to being something that would have required constant accommodation to a mere annoyance. (However, there were surgeries, many audiology visits, speech therapy, etc. as young children to get to this point). I am so grateful to the nerdy scientists who spent years in labs to invent and perfect this technology…
Actually the results from CI implantation have varied tremendously. It’s just like the results from hearing aids back in the 1980’s. Some profoundly deaf kids were functionally hard of hearing with them, others only got to about moderate or even severe loss listening levels with them. Same with CI. There are still a lot of kids who don’t acheive functional hoh levels with them. Heck, virtually ALL CI folks are pretty much HOH…they do not hear like hearing people at ALL. The hearing that devices give is hard of hearing, hearing. That’s why almost all dhh kids have deaf speech. But yes, the CI has been amazing…oh and I would quibble that a deaf adult wouldn’t benifit. Even back in the day when hearing exchange (which was basicly a site to sell CIs) was active they said that benifit varied tremedously, and sucess was different for different people.
and the best technology out there is texting… i am hard of hearing, and can talk on the phone, but very rarely speak on the phone any more. I text