Today is December 3, a special day. Why? Perhaps because the first successful heart transplant was performed on December 3, 1967? Or because the first SMS was sent on December 3, 1992? While these are both good answers, today we want to draw attention to something else: December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities
This day was established in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3, with the aim of promoting understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities and promoting support for the rights and well-being of those with disabilities. This year the focus is on innovation for inclusiveness.
Article after article on this subject is published on LinkedIn by companies that talk about how they want to increase inclusiveness in their workplace. Wheelchair accessibility in the hallways. Subtitles for the hard of hearing and the deaf. Audio transcription for the blind. Well-arranged websites for people who have difficulty processing information. All wonderful initiatives that we strongly encourage, but one thing stands out: where are the initiatives for people with voice problems?
The voice disorder as a disability
Apparently, the term ‘disability’ does not bring to mind the problem of an affected or lost voice. Maybe because with other restrictions we can imagine a little more. “Being blind must have a lot of influence on life, because in the dark I could hardly find the lamp.” “Hearing impairment too, because with loud music in my ears I hardly heard a car approaching.” , because that time I broke my leg, I had to wait for hours to get a key to the elevator.” And we still recognize voice problems as hoarseness, but most people don’t have that without a voice all day. experienced.
Society is not yet that inclusive for people with voice problems. Just look back at your own life. Would you have gotten your job if you got tired after every sentence you uttered during your interview? Would you have maintained your friendship with that old colleague if you could not be heard on the phone? And would you have received the right medicine if your question was barely heard in that busy pharmacy? Perhaps your environment is already so inclusive that the answer to all these questions is yes, but we suspect not. Your voice is simply the most used connection between your thoughts and the world, so that the quality of your voice is automatically linked to your personality. This can lead to annoying assumptions that are not grounded in reality. Unfortunately, losing your voice is definitely a limitation that requires more understanding and it is therefore important to pay attention to this today as well.
Inclusion and voice impairements
This is what we at Whispp would like to recommend to companies that want to be more inclusive: ask a customer or employee to visit you and only speak in a whisper. How accessible is your product, service or workplace for this group? Are your employees prepared for the required different form of communication? Is there little ambient noise that could reduce intelligibility and is there always a pen and paper to hand when needed to communicate?
With the medical and technical advances achieved in the past on December 3, it only makes sense to continue that innovation today. Whispp hopes to contribute to this with our smart speech amplifier. Through our app, even the most hoarse and soft voice and even whispered speech can be converted into clearly understandable speech. In this way we hope to contribute to the inclusiveness of people with voice disorders, so that they too can make themselves heard everywhere.