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Improving Communication between Ambulances and the Hearing-impaired

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Improving Communication between Ambulances and the Hearing-impaired

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers face high rates of injuries and fatalities. There is a need to ensure that drivers are accurately warned of the presence of an ambulance so that they can quickly remove themselves from the ambulance’s path and reduce the probability of injury to themselves, EMS workers, and patients. One population that particularly faces challenges in recognizing an ambulance’s presence is the hearing-impaired. Over 38 million people (12 percent of the population) in the United States have a significant hearing loss (Center for Hearing Loss and Communication, 2013). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) sponsored an effort to explore the challenges faced by the hearing-impaired in detecting and localizing an ambulance in the area and identify technologies that could address these challenges.

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