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There are a plethora of devices specifically designed to aid people who are deaf or hard of hearing and other devices that can act as aids but are not necessarily targeted toward this group. Text-to-speech devices are frequently used to better communicate with those who cannot hear. In addition, computers and mobile phones with text and video chat capabilities can be beneficial. These devices may be advertised as beneficial to deaf or hard of hearing people rather than as technology for the hearing impaired. This is primarily because some people who are hearing impaired see the inability to hear as a difference between them and other people rather than a disability or impairment.
Text-to-speech devices and programs are a very common technology for the hearing impaired in developed countries. They can come in the form of a hand-held portable devices or free software found on the Internet. Text-to-speech can significantly improve communication between a deaf person and his or her family or friends. For example, by using this type of technology for the hearing impaired, a person can make a telephone call by typing his or her words and having a machine or real person relay them. It could also be used to more easily make business calls and order take-out or other things a deaf person might not be capable of doing on the phone without assistance.
Some types of technology for the hearing impaired are centered around making existing technology for alerting a person with sound usable for alerting a hearing-impaired person. One typical way of doing this is to replace sounds with flashing lights, though for some applications vibrating devices are used. A usual way that this type of technology is implemented is by making life-saving devices, such as carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, able to alert the hard of hearing by emitting a distinct type of easily noticeable flashing light. Another common application of this kind of technology is for phones, which may have the technology built in or added as an accessory. Lastly, alarm clocks for the hearing impaired often rely on bright flashing lights or vibrations to wake people up.
There are a few types of ordinary devices that can be very useful to those who are hard of hearing. For example, video phones can be used to allow a person to communicate over significant distances via sign language. Also, personal computers and mobile phones can be helpful by facilitating easy communication using text.