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Digital and Mobile Communications for Deaf or Hard of Hearing

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					Barile, M., Budd, J., Fichten, C.S., & Asuncion, J.V. (2011). Digital and mobile communications for Deaf or
hard-of-hearing students. The Communicaider, Fall 2011, 15-16.

specific phrases. The user must then     Digital and Mobile Communications for
fill in the blanks with words instead
of letters in each box. If the answer    Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Students
is correct, a congratulatory mes-        Maria Barile, Jillian Budd, Catherine Fichten and Jennison Asuncion of
sage pops up with the number of          Adaptech Research Network
points earned. If the answer is incor-
rect, the box turns red. There is no
need to install or download any-
thing since it is accessible online.
However, a one-time registration to
create login information is required
for access. “Read My Quips” is both
                                         A     s its name suggests, the term
                                               "social media" refers to digi-
                                         tal media that are used to interact
                                                                                   responses of the 51 students sur-
                                                                                   veyed who self-identified as Deaf
                                                                                   (10 students) or Hard-of-Hearing (41
challenging and entertaining at the      socially. Examples of social media        students).
same time, especially when back-         include: microblogs (essentially, an
ground noise is increased to try and     online "diary" with brief descrip-        In terms of cell phone usage:
understand speech.                       tions events, opinions, views — the       ▶ 38 out of 51 respondents (75%)
                                         most popular microblogging plat-          used a cell phone or mobile device
In 2007, the Telecommunication           form is Twitter); social networking       ▶ In total, 29 respondents used a cell
Industry Association (tia) intro-        (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+);       phone without adaptations and 9
duced a standard to reduce inter-        photo sharing (i.e. Picasa, Flickr);      used a device with adaptations
ference from cordless phones when        blogs; and vlogs (videoblogging,          ▶ Of those 29 respondents who
used with a telecoil in a digital        shared on sites like YouTube).            used a cell phone without any adap-
hearing aid. Research showed that                                                  tations, almost half (48%) wanted a
the interference was caused by the      Some popular applications of social        device with adaptations
digital hearing aid telecoil, rather    media that would be useful for Deaf
than the radio frequency signal from    and/or hearing impaired persons            When asked what type of adapta-
the cordless. The tia-1083 logo with    are instant messaging services (such       tion they used, students reported
the broken ear symbol and a small       as Windows Live Messenger, aim,            the following:
"t" in the lower right corner is now    Yahoo! Messenger) and texting via          ▶ Hearing aid compatible
bilingual to conform to Canadian        mobile phone. Not                          technologies
                                                                                   tec
standards.                              only are the online                        ▶ iCom Bluetooth
                                                                                     iC
                                        services free, one is                      ▶ Neckloop telephone
                                                                                     N
Therefore, if the cordless phone        not required to type                       ▶ Amplifier
                                                                                     A
packaging displays the bilingual blue ga to indicate "Go
logo, it conforms to the standard       Ahead" or sk to end the                       Key problems with cell phones
for interference. With these phones conversation. Another dif-er                       and Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
however, we found that the maxi-        ference is that with messaging
                                                               essaging               students:
mum volume was not high enough          systems, more than one person can          ▶ Poor reception
for moderate to severe hearing loss, communicate at the same time.                 ▶ Poor speech clarity
since they are not amplified phones
like adapted landlines and some         We, at the Adaptech Research               Difficulties with phones are not a
cordless. Therefore, these phones       Network, recently completed a              new issue, and go as far back as the
are best suited for people with mild study to determine the social media           1980s, when organizations such as
hearing loss.                           and mobile technologies that post-         chip were advocating for t-coils.
                                        secondary students with disabilities       Since phones provide the greatest
In November 2010, the standard          use. This study looked at whether          barrier for hearing aid users, it is not
was revised as tia-1083-a that now      students found these discussed             surprising that young adults with
covers wireless interface with the      technologies useful and easily acces-      hearing impairments would want
Internet. The standard now covers       sible, or if they found limitations. 722   adaptations to these technologies.
wi-fi (Wireless Fidelity), voip (Voice- postsecondary students with dis-
over Internet Protocol), Bluetooth,     abilities responded to our survey in       Today in Canada, mobile phones
and usb (Universal Serial Bus).◀        2009-2010. The following are some                      continued on next page

 Spring 2011
 Fall                                                                                                                         15
                                      Digital and Mobile Communications for Deaf or
                                      Hard-of-Hearing Students continued

                                      are not regulated and do not have to be hearing aid
                                      compatible. However, in the usa there are rating scales
                                      for cell phones. The scale starts at m1 or t1 (poor), and
                                      moves on to m2 or t2 (fair), m3 or t3 (good), then
                                      finally, m4 or t4 (excellent). There is an opportunity
                                      for the Hard-of-Hearing communities to advocate for
                                      unlimited access regulated mobile devices. ◀




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