Hearing and vision simulator

Picture of a coffee machine in a cafeEver wondered what it is like for someone with hearing loss trying to be part of a conversation in a restaurant? Or wondered what it is like to try and read a subway map if you have glaucoma?  Now you can check this out online using a simulator to get the idea of the way things sound and look.

Further to the development of the Inclusive Design Toolkit, the Inclusive Design Group at the University of Cambridge have come up with a simulator that covers mild, moderate and severe hearing loss in five different settings: restaurant, classical music, rock music, a ringing phone, and a station platform announcement. Similarly, the simulator includes the main vision impairments including macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. 

You can also use their Exclusion Calculator for vision, hearing, thinking, dexterity, reach and stretch and locomotion, to see how many people might be excluded if not thought about in the early stages of design. You can set the calculator for multiple capacities, such as sight, hearing, thinking and locomotion – all of which are needed to negotiate public transport, for example. A very useful tool for any designer.

Anthony Hogan gave a very informative presentation at the Universal Design Conference using examples of hearing loss. It is not the hearing loss measured by beeps in a soundproof booth that matters, it is the hearing loss that affects the ability to hear in social settings. His presentation will be available soon.

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