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Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing need access to audible information. This may be:
This article covers some of the accessibility solutions for both groups of users.
Computers usually have error and alerting tones, and both Windows and Macintosh have a setting that flashes the screen whenever the sound is played.
Windows also has a setting for turning on text captions in those few application programs that have captions:
In addition to the volume controls on external speakers, both systems have volume controls to make audio louder or softer:
TTYs are small text terminals that can communicate over a regular phone line. Relay Services adds an operator to translate between a TTY user and someone without a TTY.
Many of the mainstream, real-time text communication options (SMS, chat, etc.) have been enthusiastically adopted by deaf and hard of hearing users. No adaptations or relay operators are needed when the communication is direct.
Some libraries and other organizations are providing services, such as answering reference questions, via text messaging.
Both direct video calls and video relay services (VRS) are now widely used by people to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL). Some libraries have installed VRS-capable devices that use the existing broadband Internet connection. Videophone applications on camera-equipped computers, mobile phones, and tablets are also popular.
Other high tech products likely to be of interest to deaf and hard of hearing individuals include the following:
Information provided by the AT Coalition. To link to this article directly, click here.