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Deaf Technology

Sarah Turner
Monday, April 28, 2008

Technology and the Deaf

Have you ever wondered how deaf people communicate when they go out in public? Sign language is what comes to a lot of people's mind, but the majority of people don't know how to sign. This can be a problem for both the hearing and the deaf. Another way hearing people and deaf people can communicate is through writing back and forth to each other, this can be very time consuming and confusing. Technology has advanced so greatly that there are new machines that can be sold to help both the hearing and deaf. In an article from the North Country Times, author Seth Sutel explains how technology helps the deaf. Around five years ago a new device was made all thanks to a man named Ken Gan. Gan is the owner of Ken Gan's auto repair shop in Rochester, New York. The article states that, Gan hired some electrical engineers and a patent attorney and came up with the Interpretype. The small device with a keyboard and display hooks up to another Interpretype or a PC, allowing a hearing person and a deaf person to type messages to each other (Sutel, 2007). Gan said that this machine has helped a tremendous amount and that he gets a lot more deaf customers than he ever did before. He also sells this device in a building above his shop. There are many other devices that are some what similar to Gan's, they tend to be a little pricey but they work, and that is what counts!

Another technological device that has been used for the communications of deaf people is the acoustic telephone coupler also known as the TTY technology. It has taken a long time for this device to be passed because of all the difficulties that have came along with it. There has always been a lot of technology for the hearing population, which is the majority, but for the few deaf and hard of hearing people; technology is barely coming out of its shell. Many inventers have promised the deaf community to make new devices, easier for them to communicate with one another. In an article about technology and society, author Harry Lang explains some of the complications dealing with the acoustic telephone coupler. Robert Haig Weitbrecht invented this machine in 1971 with the help of James C. Marsters and Andrew Saks (Lang, 1997). This machine made it possible for deaf people to communicate over phone through a video streaming system. There were many issues with this because the phone companies did not want to necessarily be part of this. The article states that, Marsters, Saks, and Weitbrecht held numerous meetings with AT&T officials, but failed to spark interest in the manufacturing and provision of TTYs for deaf consumers (Lang, 1997). Today this machine is available for deaf and hard of hearing people upon request. It took the inventers a long time to get this started but it was all worth it.

With all of the new technological advances, there is a new operation that is available for children who are born deaf. An article on shared a story about a little boy who got this operation. Author Betty Ann Browser explained, Dylan Craig was born deaf, but eight months ago, he underwent an operation and received a cochlear implant, an electronic device that stimulates the hearing nerve, enabling a deaf person to perceive sound (Browser, 2001). Dylan's parents are both deaf as well and when they found out that their son may hear, they were thrilled! It is amazing how much technology has changed over the years, and if it continues to grow the way it has than maybe everyone on this earth will be able to hear, with an operation of course.


Sutel, Seth. (2007, Nov. 11). Technology Helps Deaf, Hearing to Communicate. North County Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 22, Apr. 2008:

Lang, Harry. (1997). Technology and Society: Implementation of the Acoustic Telephone Coupler by the Deaf Community in America. 1997 Conference Proceedings. Rochester Institute of Technology. Retrieved 24, Apr. 2008:

Browser, Betty. (2001, Feb. 2001). Technology and Deaf Culture. Online News Hour. PBS Home Programs. Retrieved 29, Apr. 2008:

Also see:
Technology and Deaf Communication
Technology and the Deaf (02)
Technology and the Deaf (03)
Technology and the Deaf: Impacts on Culture

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