Home > Technology > Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 2 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Mobile Phones Text Message Sms Vibrate

Mobile phones for deaf people may initially sound like a bit of a non-starter. But when you actually think a little harder you soon realise that for many – especially older people who may not be able to get out and about mobile phones are revolutionising lives. There are many reasons why a mobile phone is a good and useful purchase for someone who is hard of hearing. Of course, there are disadvantages as well, but many of these can be far outweighed by the advantages and benefits a mobile phone can bring to someone’s life.


Texting, or SMS (short messaging service) to give it its full name is now ubiquitous in the UK. But just a few short years ago we were all astonished by the fact we could send these short messages to each other’s mobile phones. The deaf community welcomed texting with open arms as it allowed them to use mobile phones and be as portable as other people, and make plans while on the go. Although this is clearly a good development – and the fact that pretty much everyone now has a phone and can text – there are some negatives, or at least drawbacks to this. Firstly, the cost. Even hearing people who prefer to communicate by text see the bills mount up – imagine if texting was your only option. Thankfully, some companies have now cottoned onto this and offer special packages for heard of hearing people. Secondly is the fact that if a person is fluent in sign language there English may not be too good. But working with friends they can always develop their own code.


Mobile phones usually have a vibrate setting which allows users to feel that they are ringing rather than hear them. Originally developed for people who wanted to be discreet about their phone, vibrate is perhaps most useful for deaf people. They do not have to have their phone in their line of sight all of the time to see they have had a text message but can set it to vibrate and feel it.

Text Phone

Just like landlines, mobile phones can have special software installed on them to allow them to become text phones. Using this or the RNID’s typetalk service, deaf people can have whole conversations in text, as hearing people would in speech. This is more time consuming than short texts but gives a fuller and more complete conversation.

Mobile phones have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and most of the changes benefit everyone. One drawback for deaf people is that the signal can sometimes interfere with equipment they have, especially if they are hard of hearing and wear a hearing aid. An induction loop should clear up any feedback though and technology is improving all the time. It will surely soon be at the point where it does not interfere. So, do not dismiss mobile phones as a silly idea for deaf people as they are just the opposite and when used properly are actually a very good idea indeed. Technology, if used correctly, really can be a marvellous thing.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Basma
    Re: Hands on Signing
    Hi I have a blind child and he has a moderate hearing loss. I wonder if you can help me to teach him sign language and I need to learn as well.…
    30 July 2019
  • Signing with seniors
    Re: Sign Supported English
    Does anyone know of any programmes or resources for using SSE with older people whose hearing has deteriorated in later life?
    16 May 2019
  • umaymah
    Re: Makaton
    what is makaton??????????????????????????
    11 December 2018
  • john smith
    Re: John Smith: UK's Only Deaf Comedian
    Am deaf and dumb of south west africa nigeria,deaf-uk original post in this 2006 bill 2018.thanh you
    3 December 2018
  • john smith
    Re: John Smith: UK's Only Deaf Comedian
    Am deaf and dumb in south west africa nigeria,deaf-uk 2006 bill 2018.thanh you
    3 December 2018
  • john smith
    Re: John Smith: UK's Only Deaf Comedian
    Thank you your message me to addition deaf people uk
    7 August 2018
  • Debb
    Re: Left Hand Signing
    I am right handed. When watching online various teaching do i mirror tbe to do it right handed?
    15 May 2018
  • Sue
    Re: Getting to Know One Another
    I have been searching everywhere for the how to sign "Live" as in, "where do you live?" in makaton, I cant seem to find it…
    24 April 2018
  • MisttY
    Re: Hands on Signing
    @Puckle - there must be lots of free online videos offering this. It would be a very easy and cost-effective way to learn. Good luck.
    10 April 2018
  • Puckle
    Re: Hands on Signing
    I have wanted to learn to communicate with deafblind people for a long while after seeing a documentary about it. It moved me so much that a lot…
    10 April 2018