Interest and Requirements for Sound-Awareness Technologies Among Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Users of Assistive Listening Devices
Environmental sounds can provide important information about surrounding activity, yet recognizing sounds can be challenging for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) individuals. Prior work has examined the preferences of DHH users for various sound-awareness methods. However, these preferences have been observed to vary along some demographic factors. Thus, in this study we investigate the preferences of a specific group of DHH users: current assistive listening devices users. Through a survey of 38 participants, we investigated their challenges and requirements for sound-awareness applications, as well as which type of sounds and what aspects of the sounds are of importance to them. We found that users of assistive listening devices still often miss sounds and rely on other people to obtain information about them. Participants indicated that the importance of awareness of different types of sounds varied according to the environment and the form factor of the sound-awareness technology. Congruent with prior work, participants reported that the location and urgency of the sound were of importance, as well as the confidence of the technology in its identification of that sound.