Computers Letter: Communications solution for deaf people?

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The Independent Online
With the rise of modems, multimedia and mobile phones, there must be a host of applications which would allow deaf people to catch up with the telephone age - and on the same terms as the rest of us for a change.

So where are they? Does anyone have a comprehensive PC- based communications solution for deaf people which allows flexible combinations of fax, E-mail, paging and voice communications with maximum information on screen, to get around the problem of not being able to hear ringing or other tones, or know who is calling.

My lip-reading partner has a four-year-old Dutch Goedhart Visicom textphone, which allows me to use the keypad on my standard telephone at work while he talks. But we need a fax-answering machine, too, because few people can overcome the hassle of learning the letter codes.

A smart fax modem and answering machine which does not require the computer to run all day, combined with a device that decodes telephone pulses or tones would mean that anyone else could fax or leave messages and I could use the keypad - at present I cannot use a modem from work. Any ideas?

How about portable communications solutions that would reduce our dependence on the home-based system and save me getting RSI from the cumbersome keypad codes - which often do not work on public telephones, anyway.

It seems the latest push towards multimedia may well shut deaf people out again.

Marie Bourke

Hemelrijk 71

9402 Ninove, Belgium.

Tel/fax: 010 32 54 929822.

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