How Do Deaf-Blind People Use Technology

Deaf-Blindness Assistive Technology is adaptive, rehabilitative, and assistive devices for people with impaired vision or/and hearing abilities of any age. People with visual and hearing impairment experience difficulty performing daily activities on their own and even with assistance.

What does "deaf-blind" mean?

Deaf-Blindness is a combination of simultaneous hearing and visual impairments that limit auditory and visual abilities. An individual is considered deaf-blind if they experience hearing loss and vision loss at the same time. The majority of deaf-blind people are not completely deaf and blind, they still have a residual amount of hearing and/or vision in any proportion. A deaf-blind person may be totally blind, totally deaf, low vision, poor hearing.
Deaf-blind people assistive technology (AT)

Assistive technology (AT) is a term that refers to a broad spectrum of technology (hardware and software) that assists people with disabilities on a daily basis.

Deaf-blind individuals use a combination of AT products, depending on their individual needs.

Visual disabilities assistive technology

Braille display: A device that converts digital text into braille dots, usually attachable to a computer keyboard, which allows a blind person to read the contents of a display in the form of a line of Braille characters.

Screen reader: A program that analyzes the content and the layout of a website and converts text to speech.

Dictation: Speech recognition software that allows users to navigate and interact with websites by voice.

Hearing disabilities assistive technology

Alerting devices: Devices that convert audio alerts into a visual or physical alert that the person can perceive (such as alarm, door ring, etc.).

Telecommunications: Numerous assistive software available such as TTY / TDD, Text-to-911, video chat.

Enhanced listening: Connecting systems for an audio feed and hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Visual communication: Zoom In / Enlarge captions and transcripts. Software that provides audio information in a visual format.

Assistive Technology Examples:
- Braille printers
- Braille translators
- Mobility devices
- Accessible mobile apps
- Audible and tactile signs
- CCTVs/Video magnifiers
- Deafblind and multiple disabilities
- Digital talking book players hardware
- Digital talking book players software

The importance of braille for deaf-blind users

Braille machines are used by people who are blind or deafblind. It is critically important to be able to read and write in modern society. Braille opens the door to literacy, intellectual freedom, equal opportunity, and personal security for visually impaired people. For some deaf-blind people, braille is the only way they can read, while for others, braille is the fastest way to read (taking into account the level of the visual impairment).

Free equipment for deaf-blind people

The federal program - National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (also known as iCanConnect) offers free technology for deaf-blind people. This program was established by the FCC as part of the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). iCanConnect is a national program that provides people with both significant vision and hearing loss with free equipment and training. This includes braille devices, computers, tablets, smartphones, vibrating alert devices, accessories, and software.