4 Hearing impairments
4.2 Assistive technologies for deaf or hard of hearing people using computers
In general, people who have become deaf later in life, so that they can read and write normal text, or are hard of hearing, do not require any specific assistive technology in order to use a computer effectively. Deaf people can access visual output and can use a mouse. Hearing aid users may connect their aid to the computer's speakers or an amplifier in order to hear audio output better. Severely deaf people may change their computer's settings so that it provides alternatives to audio alerts etc, using screen flashes.
People who are dependent on sign language and who have never read or written normal text, such as some of those who have been profoundly deaf since birth, have different needs. They might need the provision of a signing avatar (software that creates an animated sign language interpreter). The following activity should give you an idea of such an avatar.
You should allow 0 hour(s), 15 minute(s).
For this activity you will need the ActiveX control: Shockwave player 10.1 from Adobe Systems incorporated.
Click here to run the Avatar Demonstration. What were your impressions of the avatar?
Please note you will need to click on the black triangles on the left-hand side in order to start the demonstration.
I found the avatar to be somewhat irritating, though often the software allows you to change avatars. There are issues about what characterises an ideal avatar which I won't go into here, but obviously an avatar should not distract from the signing. Facial expressions and mouth movements are important factors in sign language.