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Communication and Alerting Technology for DeafBlind People Elizabeth Spiers Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired.

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Presentation on theme: "Communication and Alerting Technology for DeafBlind People Elizabeth Spiers Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communication and Alerting Technology for DeafBlind People Elizabeth Spiers Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired

2 DeafBlind People – Blind or visually impaired; losing hearing – Deaf or hard of hearing; losing vision – Losing both senses – Little or no usable vision or hearing

3 Blind or Visually Impaired losing hearing – Maximize vision and/or hearing – Use sense of touch – Use of hearing is not as reliable

4 Deaf or hard of hearing, losing vision May have relied on vision in past; vision is less reliable May have relied on speech reading and visual cues for understanding; more difficult now May or may not use American Sign Language (may need to rely on tactile signs or adapted signs)

5 Losing vision and hearing Age-related causes – Hearing (presbycusis) – Vision (glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration) Usher Syndrome 3 Other causes

6 Deafblind Have little or no usable vision and hearing May or may not be proficient in Braille, tactile sign language Some may benefit from newest technology for deafblind people

7 Tactile Sign Language

8 Tracking

9 Other issues Many may have mobilty or dexterity problems as they age They may not feel comfortable with new technology Simpler is better

10 What do deafblind people want to do? Communicate With other people One on one Groups Use the Phone Use Email/internet

11 Awareness and safety – Know when a smoke alarm goes off – Know when someone is at the door – Know when the phone rings – Be aware of other important sounds

12 Communication Communication is the most important thing and the issue where most people have trouble Hearing aids and cochlear implants help, but aren’t the answer to everything!

13 Hearing Aids Digital – Computer programmed; person can’t program hearing aid themselves – Can set up different programs for different listening environments Group conversations TV One on one conversations

14 Digital hearing aids require several fittings to program to person’s exact needs Takes some adjustment Can be difficult for some seniors to adjust to Important to add telecoils (so persons can use assistive listening devices)

15 Analog – Older models of hearing aids – Person adjusts volume thesmelves – Cannot be programmed; person hears everything – May be easier for some seniors to handle and operate – Must have telecoils so people can use FM systems

16 Cochlear Implants

17 Very different from hearing aids Hearing aids amplify everything Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of ear and send sound directly to auditory nerve Auditory nerve transmits sound to brain Brain recognizes signal as sound

18 What do you do when hearing aids or cochlear implants are not enough, or the person is not using them?

19 Assistive listening devices Personal assistive listening devices FM devices or systsms

20 Asssistive Listening Devices Pocketalker Ultra Pocketalker Pro TV Listening Systems

21 Pocketalker Ultra

22 Pocketalker Pro

23 Pocketalker Ultra is the newest Pocketalker 5 year warranty Can adjust tone and pitch Can use with neckloop, earbuds, headset

24 Pocketalker Pro Pocketalker Pro is an older model Only has volume control Easier for people with dexterity or memory problems Can be used with earbuds, headphone, neckloop

25 Both can be used with TV as TV listening systems Clip a long 12 foot TV cord on the back of the TV Person has to sit close to TV—wired system

26 Wireless TV Listening Systems TV Ears—wireless, less expensive (about 129 dollars) Sennheiser, wireless, more expensive (about 169 dollars) Person can listen to TV anywhere in the house

27 TV Ears and Sennheiser

28 FM Systems Best for group meetings One is Contego

29 Contego

30 Alerting Systems Purpose – Alert someone to phone, doorbell, smoke alarm – Alerts someone to other sounds—such as baby crying – Wakes someone up (alarm clock)

31 Many are light or strobe based Can use tactile components for people who can’t see lights

32 AL 10

33 AL 10 tactile alert pager

34 Audio alert transmitter

35 Signature Series

36 Upgrade to Vibracall Uses vibrating watch Will have new vibrating pager sometime in spring of 2012 (similar to old Vibracall pager

37 VibraCall Has transmitters for doorbell, telephone, other sounds Has smoke alarm with transmitter Current pager has patterned vibrations person has to learn New tactile pager coming out soon—person can press a button down-when that vibrates, will indicate its function

38 VibraCall

39 Individual Alert Systems Doorbells and phone signalers – Some hard of hearing people prefer to hear chimes

40 Doorbells – Winchester Chime Can set tone and pitch

41 Phone ring signalers Can set tone and pitch so person can hear phone ring Ringmax is one kind; there are others

42 Phones Amplified phones – Clarity – Crystal Tone – Clear Sounds – Captel 800, 800i – Jitterbug Cell Phone


44 All can adjust volume Some can adjust pitch, volume Some phones better for some people than others Many have large push buttons for easy reading

45 Jitterbug Hearing aid compatible cell phone Simple instructions—simply call Large numbers for easy reading Available through VDDHH on a trial basis (temporary) Jitterbug only is provided—people have to pay for phone service


47 Captel Captel is a service where you can dial a captioning service Operator will type conversation while you speak into phone Person can read conversation from other caller and speak to caller on phone handset.

48 Captel 800 and 800i Captel 800 does not need internet connection Captel 800i needs high speed internet connection Font and contrast can be adjusted—letters up to 3 inches high


50 WebCaptel Hamilton Relay runs this in Virginia People can plug a standard phone into a standard phone line Access WebCaptel on the Internet (through an account with a service provider) Person talks into the phone and reads captions on their computer

51 WebCaptel f

52 Deaf-Blind Communicator

53 Allows a deafblind user who has Braille access to use: – Phone – Internet/email – Face to face communication

54 Relay Services Virginia Relay Service Internet relay services (e.g, Nextalk) Video Relay Services

55 Financial Assistance VDDHH Technology Access Program National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) NewWell Fund Starkey (for hearing aids)

56 Questions and Answers

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