Hearing impairment is a serious health problem that, without compensatory aids, significantly affects the full integration of such disabled persons into mainstream society. People who suffer from deafness have a problem with understanding written text. Verbal expression is a bigger problem.
The speech of the deaf is unnatural, often incomprehensible. The quality of verbal communication determines the possibilities of the deaf, it can negatively affect employment, etc.
The fact that people with hearing impairments, if their hearing impairment is of a more serious nature, have an unnatural intonation is already generally respected by the current majority society. However, the inability to react to the current situation is usually beyond the edge of tolerance.
It is therefore necessary to help the deaf to live a full life with compensatory and communication aids. Induction loop (hereafter referred to as IL) is a technical communication device that is very convenient for hearing impaired people. It is enough to switch the ordinary hearing aid that the deaf person uses in everyday life to the mode in which it wirelessly receives the signal from the IL and the understanding of “what is being talked about” becomes a reality. Of course, under the condition that the IL is installed and functional in the given building (meeting hall, theater, sports hall, railway station, church, etc.). The obligation to equip places where more people gather with IL also has legislative support. But in many cases it is respected only formally.
- Meeting room
- Sports hall
- At the station
- In the church
The aim of the project is therefore to address institutions and organizations owning buildings in which, according to Czech ministry of local development (MMR) Decree No. 398/2009 Coll. installed IL and building authorities that approve the investment activities of developers and offer them relevant information on how, when, where and what to do so that the barrier-free communication mentioned in the decree is ensured. This target group includes designers, architects, people providing technical equipment for buildings, service workers, owners and operators of the mentioned buildings and others.
But the project also focuses on the other side of the barrier – the deaf themselves. They will be trained as part of the project on how to use IL correctly, what to expect from it and where and how to demand its full functionality.
The project will also focus on the group of phoniatrists and audiologists.
This project offers help to everyone mentioned above in the form of comprehensive information processed in an interactive online form, available both on the appropriate project website. The project is solved within the project partnership of 3 countries: the Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia, because the situation in these countries is more or less similar.
The goal of the project is also the refutation the false claims that IL technology serving as a means of communication for people who use a hearing aid or have a operated cochlear implant is outdated and therefore not worth pursuing further. The opposite is true. ILs are experiencing a renaissance in developed countries around the world. The output of this project will not only be comprehensive, clear and online accessible information about the latest trends in the field, but also a methodology for how to spread this information as effectively as possible among deaf and intact society. This methodology will be used as part of the project even after its completion for educational activities for both the deaf and the hearing professional public. In accordance with this methodology, webinars, seminars, courses for both target groups and other educational activities will be organized.
A special output of the project that will be very welcome for the deaf will be an interactive map showing the objects and places in which ILs are installed. This map will help the deaf to plan their study, work and leisure activities so that they can use the installed and functional IL (e.g. in theaters, churches, railway stations, etc.). The interactive map will also be available as an apps to smartphone users.