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6/29/10

Doorbell, Phone, and Alarm Clock Modifications for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind

How does a deaf or deaf-blind person know there's someone at the door if they can't hear the doorbell?

Deaf people often have their doorbell hooked up to at least one light in each room so that when the doorbell rings the light flashes. Deaf-blind people with at least light perception can use the same method or can opt for a system that sends them vibrations every time the doorbell rings.

How does a deaf or deaf-blind person make a phone call?

There are several options for making a phone call. Nowadays, with texting, email, and instant messenger, most deaf people elect to use these communication methods. However, some places (like hotels and doctor's offices) can only be contacted by phone.

Some deaf or hard of hearing people can hear on the phone with their hearing aid set to a special setting, specifically designed for using phones, iPods, etc. The setting is usually called a T-coil and receives the information directly from the phone.

A deaf person who can't hear on the phone can use a telecommunication device called a TTY or TDD. A TTY has a screen that shows letters and has a regular keyboard. The deaf person can type messages to another person with a TTY who then receives them. They can type back and forth.

Most places aren't set up with a TTY number and in this case, deaf people can use a relay service. There are four types of relay service.

1) Text relay
This can either be used from a TTY, done through a website, or set up from an instant messenger service. The deaf person calls 7-1-1 and gives a number to dial. Text relay works by having the deaf person type to a relay operator, who voices to the person on the other end of the phone line. Then whatever the hearing person voices is typed back to the deaf person via the relay operator.

2) Video relay
This works much like text relay, except instead of using text, the deaf person uses a webcam with a special service and gives a number to dial. The deaf person can then see a video relay operator in a webcam (much like a two-way webcam online) and can sign to the operator. The operator then voices to the hearing person on the other end of the line and signs back to the deaf person whatever the hearing person says.

3) Voice Carry Over
Voice carry over is used for deaf people who are comfortable speaking but just can't hear on the other end of the phone. The deaf person calls the VCO service and gives them a number to dial. Then just like with text relay, the operator types to them whatever is being said and indicates to them when it's their cue to speak. Then the deaf person voices whatever they want to say.

4) Captel
Some deaf or hard of hearing people can hear on the phone with visual assistance. The deaf/hard of hearing person has a regular phone call, both hearing the other caller and voicing themselves. The only difference is that the operator types whatever the caller is saying so that the deaf person can have visual support.

For deaf-blind people, the same methods above can be used with large print or braille modifications, such as a large-print TTY, large-print captel, or text relay set up through their computer that has magnification of its own.

For someone who can't read large print, they can use a braille TTY, called a TeleBraille. A deaf-blind person can also use whatever braille technology they might already have and use the same relay website, emails, instant messaging, or texting that sighted deaf people use through their braille display.

How does a deaf or deaf-blind person use an alarm clock?

A deaf or deaf-blind person can either get an alarm clock that rings extremely loud, an alarm clock that flashes a light, or an alarm clock that vibrates the pillow or shakes the bed.

How does a deaf or deaf-blind person use an alarm clock?

A deaf or deaf-blind person can either get an alarm clock that rings extremely loud, an alarm clock that flashes a light, or an alarm clock that vibrates the pillow or shakes the bed.

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