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Voice technology through assistive devices

Assistive Devices

Technology has multiple benefits in the world today. It has become a great equaliser for people with disabilities. People with disabilities depend on assistive devices to help them through their daily activities.


Assistive devices

Digital and wireless devices have become a helping hand for people with hearing, speech, and language disabilities. Such devices are known as assistive devices.  Health professionals also call assistive devices as:

  • Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices
  • Alerting devices

Advantages of assistive technologies

This specialised technology promotes independence and decreases the need for other support. The advantages of assistive technologies for the disabled are:

  • Firstly, greater control over their lives
  • Talk more with able people
  • Reach higher levels of education
  • Fourthly, they help improve organisational and writing skills
  • Contribute positively toward the community
  • Help improve memory and recall skills
  • Lastly, it assists in managing risks in and around the house

Meryl Alper, the assistant professor at Northeastern University also stated that assistive systems have incredible potential to support people with disabilities.

For 16 months, Alper worked amongst 20 families with impaired children ages 3 to 13. All of these children would make use of an iPad app to help their speech and auditory impairment. The app converted symbols to audible words to help the child communicate.

Disadvantages of assistive technologies

Technologies even though largely empower the ‘voiceless’ still face structural inequalities. Some of the drawbacks of these assistive technologies are:

  • Cost
    Assistive technologies are too expensive. According to paediatrics, the average cost of a single device is $539. Many schools may not have the funds to provide these technologies.
  • Reduces human contact
    Assistive technology reduces human contact because people begin to turn toward technology instead of other humans.
  • Hard to use
    Some cases of assistive technologies are very hard to use. The difficulty can make a disabled person feel even more frustrated and disabled.
  • Privacy concerns
    Assistive technology degrades the privacy of the individual. This is because it might require a variety of information like age, address, biometrics, etc.
  • Training
    To use these devices, proper training needs to take place. This can be very time consuming

Despite these disadvantages, assistive technology is a necessity in today’s world. Without these assistive devices, people with disabilities may never be educated or able to work.


Manavi Pandey