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Finally, a Hearing Aid Emoji!

hearing aid emoji


A new hearing aid emoji could be at your fingertips soon.

Apple has plans to introduce new Emojis to represent people with disabilities, according to the blog Emojipedia. The new emojis include a guide dog, hearing aid, prosthetic limbs, and people using canes and wheelchairs.

Emojis and disability identities

In its simplest sense, emojis are little pictures. In the wider sense they are portrayals of individual traits, a visual element that we can use and relate to in daily conversations. Emojis are the fastest-growing language worldwide, with more than 92% of the world’s online population using the ideograms, according a 2016 Report

With aims to be more inclusive, Apple is expanding their emoji library with more diverse icons.

“Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities,” the company wrote in its submission to the Unicode Consortium. “Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities.”

The new emojis will be evaluated at the Unicode Technical Committee next month, and if approved, due for a release during the first half of 2019, according to The Verge. 

Why are disability emojis important?

Apple worked with various disability organizations to create these characters, including the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf, according to its submission to Unicode. The ultimate goal, the company says, is to expand the list in the future to ensure the range of emojis will provide something for everyone.

Last year, Apple added a sign language emoji for the gesture for ‘I Love You’, which delighted the Deaf community.

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?

The companies Barbie, Playmobil, and Lego have introduced toys with disabilities, as well as Oscar-winning Films and many books published bringing hugely important issues surrounding disability and mental health into society’s spotlight.

Read more: ‘The Silent Child’ wins Oscar for Live Action Short Film

In my opinion, anything that brings disability awareness into the public domain is a good thing and raises awareness for all!

Portraying difference as a good thing… That’s a from me!

Author Details
Ellie was born profoundly deaf, uses verbal communication, lipreads and wears Phonak Sky Q hearing aids. She is currently learning British Sign Language. Ellie hasn’t let her disability stand in the way and embraces every new challenge. Her deafness didn’t prevent her from achieving major accomplishments in her life, such as excelling in her education, previously working as a Marketing Executive and now as an Events Coordinator for a deaf organization, as well as blogging for Hearing Like Me. She is passionate about deaf awareness, campaigning for equality and helping others through her personal blog as Deafie Blogger.