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Hearing management

Updated 13 December 2017

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

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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