Technology is now a big part of our lives, for example our smart phones, emails, video conferencing. Technology has changed considerably in the last 40-50 years. But what have these changes meant for deaf people?
During the early 20th Century, deaf people had to create their own aids to enable them to answer the door, wake up in the morning, let them know when their baby cried.
Eventually, technology aids were developed, such as the flashing light doorbell, created by James Mountcastle, pagers, flashing alarm clocks, although they were not perfect!
During the 1980s more equipment was invented, such as TTY, Vistel and fax became a popular way for deaf people to communicate.
The most popular technology today is the smart phone, that allows deaf people to keep in contact with others utilising popular mobile apps such as WhatsApp and social media platforms.
Smart phones have become a big boost for deaf communities, who are now able to communicate faster and more efficiently compared to older generations.
Smart phones can also let deaf people know there is someone at the front door and use video relay systems to communicate with hearing people. This is much faster and easier than the old systems like Typetalk (now BT Relay/NGT) which meant you had to use Textphones to communicate.
These changes in technology meant that during the pandemic that started in March 2020, deaf people were able to maintain a sense of belonging, to remain in touch with family/friends, via video conferencing, organising events such as quiz nights, via Zoom, using their smart phone or laptop.
They rely on technology even more; many find it a lifesaver.
There is also lots of new software, such as an app that enables hard of hearing people to read captions on their smartphones instead of trying to hear or lipread while talking with other people or in a meeting.
Also, the Apple company has devised new software as part of IOS 14 that will be ready late 2020 which will bring together a lot of those accessible and technical aids into a single phone device.
Does this mean the deaf community has become totally reliant on technology?
Will the future of deaf heritage be defined by technology?
What about deaf people that do not like or find technology difficult?
What will technology be like in the future? Will it make deaf lives better?
Are all technological developments good for the deaf community?
Do you have a story about how technology impact on deaf culture or would you like to know more about or get involved with the Solar Flares: Deaf Heritage project, then email – firstname.lastname@example.org