How IoT-supported Appliances and Machines Can Help Deaf People

Guest writer: Allie Cooper, Writer

There’s no stopping technology from revolutionizing the way we live our lives and assisting those who need help. This is evident with the increasing ownership of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) technologies. Research by Gartner mentioned that there were 5.5 million new IoT devices in 2016 which is set to grow to 20.8 billion by 2020.

Management software developer Telogis cited a few factors that would enable the IoT to continue flourishing:

  • Wide availability of internet
  • Increased ownership of devices
  • Reduced cost of technology and software development
  • Enhance connectivity through advanced sensors

While the benefits people receive from these advancements vary, one particular market that will profit from the IoT is the deaf. With Internet-enabled devices, people with hearing impairments will be able to learn words and communicate easily with others.

“Smart homes offer tools for people with disabilities to live more independently, allowing them to take control—turn on and off lights, find out who knocks on the door,” said Mark Perriello, spokesman of American Association of People with Disabilities. “They have the ability to be transformative.”

But, how can internet-based technologies assist deaf people? Read on below to find out how the Internet of Things will be able to assist the deaf and help them recognized the world around them more clearly.

Enhanced security

A specific feature people love about home automation technology is its enhanced security through its advanced sensors. While deaf people might not respond to sound alerts, smart security systems are able to provide alerts to their smartphones, tablets, or wearables in the event that the sensors pick up any suspicious movements outside the house. The alert can also inform them if anyone is at the door or allow them to view whoever is outside through CCTVs that is paired with software or an app.

Improvements in literacy rate

Based on this featured infographic, children with hearing impairments learn a language at a rate of 50-60% compared to normal children, with the average deaf child starting to learn how to read by the age of 8-9. As a solution, IoT devices (such as smartphones) have offered them a way to increase their literacy rate. Apps such as Signly allow users of all ages to learn BSL (British Sign Language) quickly through augmented reality that teaches them about the information on specific signage, pictures and more. Smartphones, particularly iPhones, also come with ‘Accessibility’ features that make it easier to be used by deaf users along with IoT-hearing aids that can be paired with the handset.

Increase in health awareness

Smartphones and wearable devices are now offering a way for people to easily manage and track their health through built-in sensors and their paired apps that presents users with wellness data. Deaf people will also be able to use the same feature in measuring their health daily and promote a healthier lifestyle. In addition, there are high-tech wearables that are able to connect patients with their carers in case of emergencies, This type of IoT devices improve the safeness of the user and provides quick assistance to them when necessary.

It is important not to lose sight of the important advantages that the IoT can bring to deaf users. Although the technology is still in its infancy, experts forecast that the Internet of Things will flourish in the next few years, especially given its benefit to people with disabilities.