Most of the today’s Web pages are accessible to people with hearing impairment because the content presented in there is usually visual (images and text). Deafness, hearing loss, anacusis, hard of hearing or hearing impairment are defined as auditory disabilities which needs to be into consideration while developing products. According to the World Health Organization, right now, over 5% of the world’s population (around 466 million people) has a disabling hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children). Also, it’s estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people (1 in 10 people) will have a hearing impairment and that means, more attention to how the audio content is presented. Some examples of how people with hearing impairments (it’s recommened to check this website https://www.atalan.fr/agissons/en/malentendance.html for having a comparation between the following hearing impairments) are actually interacting with the sounds are:
- conductive hearing loss: the sound if muffled;
- perceptive deafness: the sound is distorted;
- crackling tinnitus: a crackling noise in addition to the sound they actually hear form an external source;
- whistling tinnitus: a whistling noise in addition to the sound they actually hear from an external source.
Implementing options for the hearing impairment are really easy and inexpensive, the most common solution is adding captions whenever a sound appears. Also, having a look at providing solutions for this, the main things that you will need to take into consideration while designing an interface to be used also by the users with auditory disabilities are:
- Provide text transcripts and captions whenever a sound appears (synchronized with video content, live captions, cues in adition to sound in apps). The presentations from Ted are one of the best-implemented examples for meeting the accessibility for hearing impairment. In there, any video in which someone is talking about a subject contains a transcript which is highlighted with any word spoken by the presenter. It’s very important to have not just the transcript, but the highlighted to know exactly, especially on video content, where the speech is happening.
- Sign language interpretation can be beneficial, especially while transmitting live content. This can be successfully implemented for those websites (e.g., news websites) which transmits live information and/or storing the videos after live information. This is not having any connection with technical implementation, but may be a part of the whole User Experience a company is offering to its users.