While it is no longer a news that there are tons of people out there with communication problem, it is therefore, incumbent on us to share these top 10 products for enhancing communication for people with disabilities.
That being said, communication is important for social interactions, when providing services to the public or when running a business. Unfortunately, not everybody is able to communicate in the same way. People with specific disabilities may find other effective ways of communicating.
Around 2.2 million people have trouble communicating. People with aphasia, autism, cerebral palsy, dementia, head injuries, learning problems, motor neuron disease (MND), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke are all included in this group.
People with these conditions may struggle with speech or find it difficult to understand what others are saying. Every part of daily life can be affected by this barrier hence, there is a need to enhance communication in these individuals.
So in this post, we will look at products for enhancing communication for people with disabilities.
Kinds Of Products For Enhancing Communication
Depending on what disability a person has, certain devices may be used to make their communication more effective. Below are some of the devices that can enhance communication in certain groups of people.
1. Alerting Devices
Alerting devices are mostly used for individuals who have difficulty hearing. There are different kinds of ALDs that help people with hearing loss hear better. Some are made for large spaces like classrooms, theaters, places of worship, and airports, while others are made for personal use in small areas and one-on-one conversations.
In order to notify someone with hearing loss, alerting device is connected to a doorbell, phone, or alarm and makes a loud sound or flashing light to let someone who has trouble hearing know that something is happening.
All of them can be used with or without a cochlear implant or hearing aid. Hearing loop systems, frequency-modulated (FM) systems, and infrared systems are all types of ALD systems that can be used in large buildings.
2. Augmentative And Alternative Communication (AAC)
People with speech impairments can better express themselves with the aid of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. A graphic board is one example, while a computer application that creates speech from text is another.
Tools for this purpose can range from a pen and paper to jot down messages to portable picture boards that can be used to help communicate by pointing to images, words, photographs, drawings, or letters.
Most modern augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) are what are known as “Speech Generating Devices,” which allow the user to generate digital speech by typing a message or pressing on images, words, or letters.
3. Infrared Systems
Infrared systems send sound by means of infrared light. A transmitter turns sound into a light signal and sends it to a receiver that a listener wears on his or her body. The infrared signal is turned back into sound by the receiver.
4. Educational software
Educational software helps people with reading, learning, and understanding what they are reading.
5. Memory Aids
Memory aids are products that can help you learn and remember information. They are mostly used by people with disorders affecting the memory.
6. Electronic Fluency Devices
Electronic fluency device helps people who stutter become better at speaking.
7. Unaided Communication Systems
Unaided communication systems talk with each other by using body language. Some of them are body language, gestures, and/or sign language.
Benefits Of Using Communication Products
Using communication products has a number of benefits: they are as follows.
- They help people who have trouble talking to say what they want to say.
- They improve confidence by making people feel better about themselves.
- They give people the chance to live their lives to the fullest without being left out of society.
- They help people who have trouble hearing hear sounds better.
- They help people with disabilities live better lives.
- They make learning easier and faster.
Problems That Come Up With Communication Products
- Many assistive technology products that help to enhance communication are quite expensive. There are 200 million people with low vision who don’t have access to products that help them. On the other hand, only 10% of the 466 million people around the world who have hearing loss are helped by hearing aids.
- There aren’t any rules about communication products, and there aren’t enough trained people to help with technical issues.
- The people on the team (health professionals, community workers, and technical support) who work with people with disabilities requires a high level of skill.
Products For Enhancing Communication For People With Disabilities
1. Doorbells With Flashing Lights
Hearing-impaired doorbells usually have two main features: a visual signal, like flashing or strobing lights, and an extra-loud volume with different tones that can be turned up or down.
Most of the time, people who have trouble hearing use visual doorbells, but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from them. Mothers with babies or young children will like how flashing or strobe light doorbells work without making noise.
It can also help people who work at night and sleep during the day. A doorbell that is extra loud for people with hearing problems is a good choice for people who have some hearing problems but can still hear certain volumes and tones. People who live or work in areas with more noise will also find such bells suitable.
2. Face-To-Face Dual Keyboard Communication Systems
A Screen Braille Communicator is used by some deaf-blind people (SBC). It is a portable and small device that helps them talk to people who can see.
On one side of the device is a QWERTY keyboard with an LCD display, and on the other side is an eight-cell braille display. The person who can see uses the QWERTY keyboard to type short bits of text.
By putting his or her fingers on the braille display, the deaf-blind person can read the printed text. The person then types back text with the braille display. The person who can see can read the words on the LCD screen
3. Talking Thermostat
The Talking Thermostat is a low-vision thermostat made for people who are blind, have low vision, have trouble moving around, or have severe physical disabilities. It is a programmable thermostat that regulates the heat, fan, and air conditioner.
You can use it by pushing its big buttons, which all talk, or by telling it what to do with your voice. The user claps their hands, presses a button, whistles, or knocks on a table or desk to start voice commands.
When you press a button, a clear voice tells you what that button does. The thermostat can also tell you the time, the temperature in the room, and what you want the temperature to be.
People with impaired vision can use a screen magnifier to access and use digital content like websites or documents. Screen magnification works by making it look like you are looking through a magnifying glass at the whole screen or just a part of it.
Some magnifying software can make the screen up to 64 times bigger. Most people can use the built-in software to make the screen bigger, but if you need more features, you may need to pay for screen magnification software. Some of this can cost a lot of money.
Some keyboard shortcuts or touch gestures make it easy to use these tools. With these gestures, you can turn on magnification and control how much it zooms in.
It doesn’t take long to learn the basics, and you only need to know a few commands. Some of the more advanced features might take a little longer to learn, and you might want to think about getting some more training.
A ramp is a slanted path that makes getting into an entrance much easier. There are two kinds of ramps: permanent and temporary. People who use walkers or manual or electric wheelchairs can use both.
Permanent ramps are usually made of concrete or wood. A building contractor builds them on-site. While a temporary ramp is made with aluminum.
They can be put together in pieces. They are made to be set up and used in one place for a long time. When they are no longer needed there, they can be taken apart and put back together in a different place.
6. Door openers
A door opener is designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Most models of door openers open automatically when you press a button and stay open for the right amount of time to let people who have trouble moving through them.
A motion sensor can also make them work on their own. The doors also need to meet certain width and size requirements so that people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices can use them properly..
People with disabilities or mobility issues may find it hard to open regular doors, and a door opener is a very kind way to help them.
7. Voice Amplifier
A voice amplifier could be used to help someone who has trouble speaking loudly enough to be heard in noisy places. Amplifiers can be personal, portable, hand-held, or body-worn systems. They can also be public address or sound field systems that cover a large area.
8. Artificial Larynx
An artificial larynx is a voice box that can be worn like a neck brace. It is also known as an electrolarynx. It lets people who have lost their larynx to cancer or other diseases and accidents still be able to speak.
The device is meant to mimic the way larynxes function. Usually, they look like a small flashlights and have to be held up to the throat.
An electrolarynx is based on the way that air from the lungs vibrates the vocal cords to make a sound. The user manually shakes the neck to make a noise that can be turned into words with the mouth and tongue.
9. Switch-Adapted Toys
Switch-adapted toys are toys that have had their original switches moved to a larger switch that is easier for children with disabilities to use. People who don’t have good motor skills in their hands or bodies can’t play with regular battery-powered toys.
Different switches, like finger switches, foot switches, and button switches of many sizes and shapes, can be used for different things depending on the user’s abilities. Some switches have special coverings for people who can’t see, like soft fabric, “squishy” latex, pom poms, or “bump” patterns.
The way a person uses a switch depends on muscle tone, spasticity, ability to see, mental function, and interests. Toys with switches can make blinking or changing lights, music, talking, vibration, noises, fans, aromatherapy, massage, and even record and playback voices.
10. Hand Control
The hand control is a device made so that people who can’t use the standard foot pedal can still speed up and slow down by using their hands. There are also models that are good for people who have weaknesses in their upper bodies.
Hand controls usually look like a lever that you push and pull, but there are also systems that use air compression or electronics. They can be used to control other devices. On the market today, there are many different kinds of hand controls.
The basic function is the same for all models, and most modern hand control versions make it easy, light, and responsive to use with your hands instead of your legs.
Conclusion: Top 10 products for enhancing communication
Looking at the top products for enhancing communication for people with disabilities, there is a need for cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, as well as research in the field of technology, which is growing quickly.
There are unmet assistive technology needs in every part of the world, but they vary based on climate and geography, available staff, money, and policy directives. This should be taken into account when making communication products.
Low-income and middle-income areas need products that don’t cost a lot of money or can be bought for a low price.
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