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National Federation of the Blind of Colorado (NFBCO)

Resolution 2021-02

Regarding the Inaccessibility of Remote Device Interfaces for Assistive Hearing Instruments

WHEREAS, manufacturers of assistive hearing instruments (for example, hearing aids and cochlear implant processors) are to an increasing extent designing these devices to be operated with remote controls, smartphones, or computer software; and

WHEREAS, it is too often the case that the technology used to operate assistive hearing instruments intended for use by deafblind individuals is neither accessible to nor usable by the very people they are supposed to benefit; and

WHEREAS, to add insult to injury, in many cases the programs used to control the assistive hearing devices cannot even be operated with the most readily available access technologies such as VoiceOver or TalkBack; and

WHEREAS, once a person who is deafblind starts to use a specific implantable hearing device, they are locked into using a specific set of software and hardware and are not able to switch to an application that might be more compatible with access technologies designed to be used by people who are deafblind: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado in convention assembled this 31st day of October, 2021, in the city of Lone Tree, Colorado, that this organization demand that manufacturers of assistive hearing aids AND Cochlear implants used by persons who are deafblind meaningfully engage with the deafblind community to design these technologies to be fully accessible to the deafblind; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist that manufacturers of assistive hearing instruments and Cochlear implants actively seek and use the services of testers who are deafblind to ensure that their products are truly beneficial to the deafblind.