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

 

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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