By now, it’s no secret that Apple is a leading innovator in technology. From their development of computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and more, we have been able to see firsthand how powerful Apple can be in changing the way technology works and how people communicate with it. One of the most amazing ways that Apple is using their technology is to help the hearing impaired.
As a member of the hearing impaired community, I have often times felt left out from all of the cell phone hype. I use text messaging and phone apps, but I have never been able to experience the full capabilities of having a cell phone (or any phone for that matter) due to my profound hearing loss. Even with my hearing aids in, I have been unable to hear on the telephone. For years, hearing aid makers have tried to create phone settings for the hearing impaired by using magnetic devices in the hearing aids to amplify sounds and make talking on the phone easier for hard of hearing patients, but they have yet to be successful.
Apple is one of the latest companies to try their hand at developing a compatible hearing aid to use on the phone. However, instead of merely creating a new setting, they have developed an entire new hearing aid using iOS 6 beta technology. The downside is that the hearing aids will only be compatible with iPhone 4 devices and later models, but this hardly seems like a problem. By using the iPhone, hearing impaired users will be able to customize the settings on their hearing aids to tailor their specific needs. Gone will be the days of having to make an appointment with the audiologist every time an adjustment is needed.
Apple also wants to give the hearing impaired a social network of their own. While the details of the network are still a bit sketchy, Apple has announced that one of the features they hope to implement will be the ability to share information about hearing aid devices and settings with one another. Users will be required to make a profile just like they would for any other social networking site.
I love the idea of using hearing aids tailored for cell phone. My life would be a lot easier if I could actually speak on my phone instead of having to always rely on text messaging or using someone as a translator. However, I wonder if these new hearing aids will work for all types of hearing loss. My hearing loss is one of the most severe forms, and most new hearing devices are not compatible with my hearing loss. If these hearing aids work for a wide range of hearing loss then they could be extremely beneficial. I also like the idea of having a social network for the hearing impaired. I hope the network will allow people to connect with others in ways that go beyond just discussing hearing aids though. When it comes down to it, we all just want to meet new people and talk about anything, not just what model of hearing aids we are wearing.