4 Hearing impairments

4.3 Requirements of deaf and hard of hearing people

The requirements for deaf and hard of hearing people are the same for computers as for other interactive devices.

Activity 17

Suggest some requirements for people with hearing impairments using interactive devices.

Discussion

I thought of the following:

  • Audio channels should not be the only source of transmitting information to and from a device. For example, the alarm clock in my mobile phone provides both sound and a flashing light in order to (try to) wake me up at the prescribed time.
  • The user should have control over volume and tone of audio output.
  • There should be the ability to link a hearing aid to an amplifier or speakers or induction loop system.

For people with severe hearing impairments, there are the following:

  • Deaf people who cannot speak may require an alternative to speech input facilities.
  • Deaf people who cannot read or write text may require an alternative to text output or text entry. This might mean the provision of pictorial information as output or in a menu, or the provision of a signing avatar (as in Activity 16). Text entry might be facilitated by a voice recognition system.