Home | Teacher notes | What is deafness? | Classification of deafness | Deaf web links | Pupil Projects

   About Mobile Phones   

Click on the phone to read more about Alexander Graham Bell.


Alexander Graham Bell, a young Scotsman and a teacher of deaf children invented the telephone in 1875. His telephone carried speech in the form of electrical signals along a wire. For the first time people were able to speak to each other over long distances. While Bell had intended his invention to be a communication aid for deaf people, ironically the global communications revolution that it precipitated left deaf people at a greater disadvantage that hearing.

In 1901 Guglielmo Marconi demonstrated that radio waves could be used to transmit information over long distances when he sent a radio message across the Atlantic. Radio is still one of the key transmission media today and is the basis of the mobile phone.

The developments in digital technology and telecommunications has led to the development of the mobile phone. The mobile phone (or cell phone) has impacted greatly on deaf users. The mobile phone has the facility to send text messages and this facility has become very popular with deaf people.

The fact that mobile phones are a mainstream technology has contributed to the hugh impact they have had on the social independance of members of the deaf community. If mobile phones and text messaging were specialised assistive technology specifically designed for deaf people then they would be very expensive and difficult to find. However, digital mobile phones can cause interference with hearing aids. Add-on listening accessories are available that allow one to use the phone with a hearing aid.

European deaf groups are awaiting the next generation of phones that will come with digital cameras so that they can communicate by sign language without the need to type.

Pupil Tasks

Check out the following websites

  1. Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) Factsheet
    Mobile Phones - Information for deaf people

  2. Next Generation Deaf Telecommunication

  3. BBC News - Deaf go mobile crazy

Discuss the following with your classmates and write an account of your discussion.

  1. How can mobile phones be used by deaf people?

  2. What should a deaf person consider when buying a mobile phone?

  3. How can a deaf person avoid interference if they use a hearing aid?

Pupil Projects


Back to the top