The hearing aid emoji, a person signing “deaf” and other disability emojis were released yesterday.
The new emojis include a guide dog, prosthetic limbs, and people using canes and wheelchairs.
The first conversation about adding disability emojis was back in March 2018. In the announcement Apple said, “adding emoji emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one’s own personal experience but also to show support for a loved one.”
While disability representation should be more widespread, HLM writer Ellie Parfitt explained another perspective
“Last year, Apple added a sign language emoji for the gesture for ‘I Love You’, which delighted the Deaf community,” says Parfitt. “On the other hand, labeling is always a hotly contested issue. What I’m attempting to illustrate is; we all are well aware that we are far more than our disability. When introducing ourselves, we wouldn’t say, ‘This is Sarah, she has one leg,’ or, ‘can I introduce Simon, he is blind.’ We aren’t defined by one individual characteristic. The disabled emojis are a step in the right direction with regards to equality, but some might question if they’re worth anything?”
Read more: Finally, a Hearing Aid Emoji!
Parfitt also mentions that she is still excited to see deaf representation and believe that these new emojis will spread more deaf awareness.
In addition to hearing loss emojis, you can also add hearing aids to your memoji! A memoji is a personalized animoji, which is found on Apple devices. Parfitt loves using her Memoji with bright blue hearing aids.
Now that the deaf community has access to emojis and memojis representing them, more awareness can be spread. In the future, we hope to see more emojis including a cochlear implant and additional sign language signs.
What do you think about the new emojis?