Accessibility - there is no one size that fits it all
Anne-Marie Desmottes, president of the Association des Devenus Sourds et Malentendants de la Manche made a point of emphasising the need for accessibility that is tailored to the person and the situation. Indeed, for someone who is hard-of-hearing, the accessibility mode of choice might be audio feed via telecoil or speech-to-text interpretation - or both; for a deaf person, it could be sign language interpretation; for a person that lost hearing later in life it might be only speech-to-text.
Mobile accessibility features - available today
Luckily, there are already a number of features that can help persons with hearing loss adjust to their condition, while still taping into the full potential of mobile communications. Some of the most relevant accessibility features for the hard-of-hearing include:
- Improved Call Quality
- Vibrating Alerts
- Visual Indicators for battery status, network coverage etc.
- Messaging Options (instant text, email, text phone etc.)
- Video Conferencing
- Hearing Aid Compatibility Settings
- Adjustable Maximum Volume Control Allows you to change default volume control limit
- Closed Captioning for Web Video or Streaming
These features can be further improved and supplemented by dedicated apps that focus on optimising the adaption of the mobile phone to the user’s individual hearing. This year’s winner of Window’s Imagine Cup competition for example is the Project AMP, the goal of which is to replace "expensive hearing aid frequency processing with Windows Phone 8 and a Bluetooth headset”.