The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) encourages everyone to not only recognize, but celebrate Deaf History Month from March 13 to April 15. Each historical event celebrated this month, from protests to the establishment of schools for the deaf, represents game-changing advancements of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States.
In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated a nationwide system of telecommunications relay services, making the telephone network accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Until then, the Deaf community was deprived of modern technologies which heavily relied on hearing abilities.
Before the days of TTYs and text messaging, the hearing impaired were only able to communicate via letters or in person, and have not only been hindered by these confinements, but frustrated as well. Given the latest advances in smartphones that allow for video chat and sign language, more doors have opened for this community including wearable technology which offers a rich communication experience no longer reliant on the ears, but the eyes.
Just because the hearing impaired are now able to use smartphones as a form of communication does not make them immune to missing calls or other notifications. Wearable technologies, such as the Pebble Watch and EMBRACE+ smart bracelet, fill that gap and allow users to receive mobile notifications either via a watch screen or flashing bracelet when their phones are out of sight.