For many hearing-abled individuals, texting has become a primary means of communication with friends and family. While many people simply see text messaging as an added benefit of cell phone technology, for deaf people, texting has broken many communication boundaries. According to Australian researchers, cell phone SMS capabilities allow deaf people interact with each other and the hearing-abled community. This opens up many doors to bond and create new relationships that otherwise would be very difficult for the hearing impaired.
There are approximately 70 million deaf, speech-impaired, and hearing-impaired individuals around the world. Until recently, these people could not communicate via telephone. Now text messaging provides the deaf community the ability to overcome the common boundaries of telephone use. They can use an average cell phone to communicate with just about any other person with a cell phone, no longer having to rely on a TTY or a specialized text telephone.
Now the hearing impaired have the ability to communicate for both personal enjoyment and emergency use. A cell phone can be used to report an accident, reach out to emergency services and roadside assistance or do fun things like check movie times or buy a concert ticket. In the United Kingdom, 98 percent of the hard-of-hearing community has adapted to text message use, according to the Birmingham Institute of the Deaf. This inspired the British police department to use text messaging in order to report crime for the deaf community in the area. Now, United States police departments are following suit, finding the amazing benefit in being able to communicate and efficiently protect deaf citizens.
Text messaging is a great tool for hearing impaired individuals. Since SMS texting has become so widely accepted in modern society, the use of this method of communication does not immediately conjure an image of disability or call attention to one’s handicaps. The deaf community can now easily talk to anyone and receive emergency assistance and guidance. And to top it all off, this service is becoming increasingly affordable, as many cell phone companies provide the option of unlimited texting service plans.