Hearing management

Updated 24 August 2016

18-year-old creates first sign language messaging app

Mateusz Mach is set to transform online communication for the hearing impaired by creating the world's first sign language messenger app.

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An 18-year-old Polish entrepreneur has created the first sign language messaging app - a much needed tool for those with hearing loss.

Mateusz Mach, a high school student together with a small group of developers initially launched the app in 2015 as a fun means to communicate custom, hip hop-style hand gestures with friends, Business Insider reports.

When deaf users started contacting Mach to thank him for creating an app that allows people with hearing loss to communicate over an app, he realised he could transform his app to serve a far more useful purpose.

The app allows users to either choose an existing sign or create their own using the app's sign maker which allows you to have "thousands of different options and combinations". You can even name your sign if you'd like to.

You can then select a friend to send the sign to. The app is integrated with Facebook Messenger to allow you to send signs to friends that aren't yet using the Five app.

Mach plans to relaunch Five in this summer in the USA (winter in South Africa). The current version is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Read more:

Deaf-blind lawyer uses tech to communicate with Obama

New technology helps diagnose hearing disability

1.1 billions youths at risk of hearing loss due to loud music

Sources:

Business Insider, Teenage Polish CEO Messenger App Deaf People, http://www.businessinsider.com/teenager-polish-ceo-messenger-app-deaf-people-2016-1

Five website, http://fiveapp.mobi/

Twitter, https://twitter.com/mandmach

 

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Hearing Expert

AuD degree obtained in 2013 at AT Still University Health Science Depart-ment, Arizona. Masters in Communication Pathology at the University of Pretoria, 2003. Remedial Teaching Diploma at Rand University, 1996. Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria, 1993. Owner of a private practice in Pretoria since 1999. Educating the community regarding early identification of hearing problems and screening of new-borns. Providing assistance and services at retirement homes. Part-time lecturer at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. External examiner at the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo. Presenter at conferences and seminars.

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