Individuals who have disabilities affecting hearing use technology to interact socially and to communicate. People who are deaf typically use unaided communication such as sign language, but technology can make communication over distances or with people who don't know sign language possible. For people who are hard of hearing many technologies amplify sound to aid communication.
Two-way communicator - People who are deaf can use these devices to communicate with non-signers. These devices are dedicated or can be mimicked by apps on mobile technologies or computers. Dedicated devices work similarly to instant messaging while sitting face to face. The dedicated machines do not require WiFi or other networks to connect.
Face to Face (one to one) Sound Amplification - These devices use a directional mic to pick up the voice of the speaker while drowning out surrounding sound. People with hearing loss can use these devices in conjunction with a T-Coil enabled hearing aid or with standard headphones or earbuds.
FM Systems – Are used by people with hearing loss in meetings, lectures, or other large events. The speaker wears a transmitter which sends sound to the receiver used by the individual with hearing loss. The sound can be heard directly through a person’s hearing aids with use of the T-Coil setting and loop. FM systems can also be used with standard headsets and earbuds for people who do not use hearing aids but still require sound amplification.
Video phones - Used by people with hearing impairments that communicate via sign language. The person with hearing impairment communicates via sign to a video relay operator who in turn communicates auditory with the hearing individual on the other line who is using a standard phone.
Amplified phones - Will amplify sound coming through the receiver for individuals with hearing loss who still have some functional hearing.
Caption phones - Use voice recognition technology to capture spoken words which are displayed on the large phone screen for a person with hearing loss. Most caption phones use digital, internet based services in order for the voice recognition to work. For analog caption phones, a captioning service is required. Both parties speak into a standard receiver.