Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.

This is what Helen Keller wrote (or words very close to it[1]) to describe how impactful hearing loss can be. Our modern society highly values wearing eyeglasses to improve sight but often doesn’t place as much importance on wearing hearing aids to improve hearing, particularly in cases of mild hearing loss. This misconception can be damaging, particularly for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, whose connection to the broader outside world can be negatively impacted.

Hearing-centric world

You wake up to your alarm, listen to your children or your significant other, listen to radio or music, answer your phone. These are some of the most common things people do every day. And yet, we usually don’t notice how hearing is helping us connect with the rest of the world.

We are living in a hearing-centric and technology-based world. And technology is making it more and more accessible for us.

Modern technology as facilitator in a hearing-centric world

In this video, The Verge’s Top Shelf explores how motion capture technology can help the reading level of deaf children or children with more severe hearing loss by visiting the Motion Light lab at Gallaudet University. You’ll also see how modern hearing aids, such as Eargo, are helping people with mild to moderate hearing loss.[2] (If you want to skip the first half of this video and go straight to the section that Eargo is discussed, go to the 6:44 mark. But don’t go skipping on our account, as the video is quite interesting!)

Takeaways from this video

  1. Most of the US is built around the idea that people can hear and understand words that are spoken out loud.
  2. Early sign language exposure will support literacy development in deaf children.
  3. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rule demands that clips and full-length episodes of TV shows offered online have to be closed captioned.
  4. Tools like the Eargo hearing aid, motion capture, and closed captions can make the world more inclusive — and accessible.
  5. Closed captions can make the world of visual media a lot more accessible, but everyday interactions don’t come with rolling text.
  6. For people with mild to moderate hearing loss, hearing aids can make a big difference.
  7. Eargo is a tiny hearing device designed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
  8. Eargo’s Flexi Fibers™ are intended to hold the device in place without blocking the flow of air through the ear.
  9. Hearing aids are getting smaller and the people who design them have fixed a lot of the issues that people used to complain about.
  10. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma tied to wearing hearing aids, but companies like Eargo are trying to change that by convincing people that a hearing aid doesn’t need to look like a big clunky earpiece to work.

 

Sources:

[1] http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/content.php?pid=352126&sid=2881882

[2] http://www.multivu.com/players/English/7459951-hear-the-world-make-listening-safe/