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The Job Market Continues To Grow For The Hearing Impaired

Author : Helen Marshall

Submitted : 2010-07-16 23:24:43    Word Count : 790    Popularity:   30

Tags:   hearing aids, hearing test, hearing loss, hearing, health

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A deaf individual should probably use a personal computer. The only things you need to do this are found in any store that specializes in computer parts and software. However, if you happen to be deaf, this new concept is reminiscent of the invention of the telephone. For the first time a call can be made using the computer and thanks to software they can chat using the keyboard and see what is being said on the screen. The primary input device is the keyboard, and the output device is either printed text or the screen.

These are both optical parts that never involve sound. This system is already being used by Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDDs) which consists of basic keyboards, a display of one line of text, and on occasion, a printer that uses adding machine rolls. TDDs will not work with most computers, but there are some software programs that are available. Most computer users don't purchase this software unless they are close to a person who is hearing impaired.

I was lucky enough to use a TDD and converse with a hearing impaired person, he was able to answer some questions about his deafness. He responded that he learned to read at the early age of three, at the same point he lost his hearing, and did not ever lose the ability to speak, but he is currently able, through new technology, to conduct conversations with those that hear without passing notes or reading lips. He has the ability to conduct phone interviews, like I am. And he is becoming more and more experienced using his TDD as he uses it each day to check on things back home with a phone call to his wife and also uses it to book hotels and travel reservations.

Most hearing individuals are not aware of the importance of TDDs to the hearing impaired. This is not a criticism, since TDDs represent the first major step out of electronic isolation for hearing impaired people, with the second step being the microcomputer. As important and useful as the TDD has been, there is still some question with regard to their use in conjunction with the home computer.

It is extremely hard to make TDDs compatible with computers. They need certain software and hardware. It will probably take some time for people to change over from TDDs as the number of people currently using them will slow the change to new equipment. Spending more money to purchase the new equipment is not a high priority. It's also cheaper to buy a TDD at less than $200.

What should a hearing impaired person hope to find in a computer, and do they need to be aware of any required specifications? I personally can't come up with anything more than having the same ability a hearing person needs to get online. Should the hearing impaired know anything more about computers that hasn't already been said? One thing would be that buying the modem should be the first peripheral, even before getting printer. A laptop is also a wonderful choice for communicating, if it is affordable for them, especially if it is first time computer purchase.

If ever there is an emergency, they can use the CB to ask for assistance in making a voice call. It might take some convincing that the situation is not a joke, but it is possible. Furthermore, I know of a brand new bulletin board network being established in different cities for a sort of test. This will act as a bridge to gap computers and TDDs, and also provides a wealth of information including an emergency phone center.

I have also heard about lap computers being attached to speech synthesizers, but have very little information concerning them. These could be used if they are able to be used with a phone. However, the deaf person using this would not know if someone had answered or what their reply was. Due to the fact that most deaf people have the skills required for computers, i.e. ability to see; and are able to acquire, like typing, the job market is big, and growing daily, for deaf people who are able to work with computers. A job that does not require any telephone interaction and is limited to things like typing, programming, processing data or words, would be well suited for a member of the deaf community.

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