deaf*finitely, i-phone

I got an iphone. “Whaaaaaat?”, you sputter, “but I thought you were firmly in the embrace of a low income!” Ah, yes, my friend. That is true. And an iphone is kind of like the gidgety-gadget to end all gidgety-gadgets – with a nifty price tag attached. Not really something I’d think to get while we are busy growing our own food, you know.

So let’s just blame it all on Katherine! Ha!! She told me all about the deaf deal that most phone companies have: you pay a flat fee and that’s that. Our deaf deal would have us paying no more than we usually do per month. Then our upgrade + selling other electro (less worthy) gadgets = we paid $75 for it, not exactly a bad deal for a phone that does everything but change the diapers (and I’ll bet Steve resigned because he just couldn’t figure that one out).

The iphone is the new hippity-trip phone of the deaf, and this is why: they have the best deaf apps. I know this because I read stuff like Deaf Tech News and my *favorite* aggregator, DeafRead, which is where I found Young Thomsen’s blog and app list. Since I think it’s pretty cool, I’m going to copy and paste his entire list right here for you:

The 10 Most Useful iPhone Apps for the Deaf:
1. IP-Relay: Like TTY or TDD systems, IP-Relay allows you to make phone calls. It connects you to an operator who then reads your messages to the recipient and transcribes their messages back to you. It interfaces with your iPhone’s existing contacts, and restores the crucial function of being able to make phone calls.

Hamilton Mobile Captel: Hamilton Mobile Captel transcribes phone calls, as they happen, in English or in Spanish. Using a headset, Captel allows you to see the text of a phone call in real-time while hearing it, making it much easier to understand conversations.

IWRelay VRS: IWRelay is a video relay application that, unlike others, allows users to make video relay service calls via FaceTime, iPhone 4’s new video conferencing feature. While other apps have promised this feature, no others offer it yet, making this app particularly valuable for early adopters.

Sorenson Video Center: The Sorenson Video Center allows users of Sorenson Video Relay Service to take videos from a videophone and view them on an iPhone or an iPod Touch. It connects to one’s Sorenson account, which it uses to access videos, IP Relay services, and provide easy ways to respond to SignMail videos. It also interfaces with the iPhone’s contacts system and many instant messaging services.

iASL: iASL is a comprehensive American Sign Language application. It includes a video dictionary, translators, automatic spelling correction, and a number of resources for study. At 403 megabytes, it’s a large application, but as an ASL teaching resource, it’s highly valuable. Given its large quantity of video content, it’s one application that could be better on the iPad’s huge screen.

Subtitles: Subtitles provides access to movie subtitles to use in real-time when watching movies on other devices, making it easier to follow dialogue when seeing films in theaters or in other settings. Note that the application’s content is user-generated, so the quality of subtitles may vary. 

Tap Tap: Tap Tap is designed to produce alerts when loud noises are made around the phone. With Tap Tap on, the iPhone will vibrate and flash to alert you that there’s been a loud noise or that someone has spoken in your direction. It could provide hugely useful information — that someone is knocking on your door, that an intercom has gone off, that you are being addressed — might otherwise go unnoticed. 

fring: a multi-function messaging application that makes it possible to make free calls, both voice and video, as well as live IM chats from an iPhone or iPod touch over either a WiFi connection or a 3G one. It interfaces to many services, like MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Twitter, and AOL Instant Messenger, and for consolidating all of these into a single application, it could be quite useful. 

soundAMP: SoundAMP uses the iPhone’s microphone to amplify sound around the user, turning it into a hearing aid. It allows the user to adjust frequencies to best compensate for hearing loss, captures the last 30 seconds in the event that the user needs to replay them, and allows for enhanced recordings of things like doctors’ appointments and lectures. 

DeafNation: A reader for content from DeafNation, a news site covering entertainment, sports, and language. Their dedicated application provides feeds for news and the site’s Twitter, videos, and additional content. Note that some users have complained about the app’s news feed compared to the web sites.

Drool, swipe. “tap, tap” – “sound amp”?!! iSAL?!! Drool, drool, swipe, swipe, swipe.

This is definitely a case of technology making life that much better for us. 


I wanted the apps. And I wanted the camera. My regular camera is NOT a dslr. It’s a point-a-shoot. Honkingly large, it gets in the way of “those moments” – if I’m going to point-and-shoot, I’d just as soon do it with something small to better capture random-ness. Right? Yeah, right! Plus, those apps… 

Dude, those apps!

I so love being able to take a quick photo in a moment 

Without, you know, sticking The Honker in someone’s face

Also: I love turning the camera around and taking a picture with my kid

And I love that the photo quality is really pretty good – I don’t have to take 50 million-gazillion pictures to get ONE that I like. 

This is very much the real deal for me; a niftily slim point-and-shoot that is wildly fun

Having been a former blackberry user/owner, I really don’t understand why anyone would part their precious time and money on that thing, when the IPHONE is around. This here baby… rules.
 Plus! I can play scrabble on it, count calories (it will take me 5 months to lose the baby weight, it says), do exercises, map out the night sky, listen to music, “watch” netflix (sans captioning, it’s literally “watch”), find the best taco truck around AND parking spot! Diggit!
Hmm.. Put you to sleep already? Mikey kind of feels like that all the time now. “You may as well nail that thing to your forehead,” he says, “that, that… i-berry or crack-phone or whatever it is

Well, love, I would, but if I did, how would I take a picture of it on my head?

ps. Thanks, Katherine!
pss. – What are YOUR favorite apps?!

Patreon Helps Me Continue to Create Kick-Ass Content for You - Even $1 Makes a Difference
is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
She likes her coffee black and hot.
Meriah on EmailMeriah on FacebookMeriah on GoogleMeriah on InstagramMeriah on LinkedinMeriah on PinterestMeriah on TwitterMeriah on Youtube


  • We have an itouch, can’t afford the phone or plan, but love it for podcasts! There’s a nifty app I used when I was in labor that helps you keep track of contractions, and another for feedings and diaper changes for newborns – although I don’t know if you’ll need that anytime soon! And just wait till you see all the great kids’ games!

  • LOL! Yous post was hilarious! I don’t spend much time in my phone these days. In fact it looks like that’s my son’s gadget instead of mine! LOL!I have a couple of apps with flash cards in spanish for Manolo, videos of baby Einstein, again for Manolo, Face Time (so my parents and sister can see Manolo when ever they like) pandora, my walgreens app to order refills, and hipstamatic: which I really like but have no idea how to make cool pictures like yours 🙁


  • I barely know what an app is. Maybe one day, although my husband has forbidden us to ever buy something that starts with an “i”…

    That is so AWESOME what that thing can do! Congratulations!

    Btw, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sleeping pics… Funny when a cell phone can take better pics than a point-and-shoot. LOL

  • OK, so I love that you get a special deal on your iphone! I was anti- (due to cost) but since the blackberry is dying a slow death, I might get one too! For now, my Words with Friends is limited to facebook.

    Those photos are so fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *