Asia-Pacific Feb 13, 2017
LUDHIANA, INDIA: Mobile revolution may have swept the country long time ago, but for people with hearing disabilities, the real benefit of mobile communication technology had remained incomplete, as it was largely restricted to messages and internet access only.
But now, with more penetration of affordable 4G and increasing video-calling apps like WhatsApp, Skype and social networking sites such as Facebook messenger among others, the technology has now become equally useful for the hearing and speech impaired as well.
They can now use the sign language to communicate through video calls over mobile phones.
Parul Passi, who runs a skill development centre in the city, said the video calling affordability is empowering to people with hearing disabilities as they are able to communicate in their primary language — the sign language.
“Earlier, their communication was restricted to SMS or social media, but still, because sign language is the first language they learn, it is much easier for them to communicate using this language,” he said.
Premod Dada, General Secretary of Ludhiana Educational Trust, that runs the School for the Deaf on Hambran Road, said: “Video calling and smartphones need to be made even more affordable for them. It will definitely benefit them. The government should also come up with some plan to make technology accessible to them.
Despite 4G connectivity having become relatively affordable, only a fraction of people and students having hearing impairment can afford to buy smartphones,” he said.
Gurdeep, who can neither hear nor speak, while communicating by writing an application on mobile, said the recent spurt in video calling facility through smartphones has become useful for the hearing impaired and they were happy to be able to communicate freely with visual medium.