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 Forum index » House Training » HOWTO ( Solutions )
How to communicate with a totally deaf person. - Dec 2019
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Joined: 19 Oct 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun 01 Dec 2019, 12:29    Post subject:  How to communicate with a totally deaf person. - Dec 2019
Subject description: Using a computer screen

Top level overview:

This post describes a nil cost method using a mixture of WebRTC & screen sharing.
This method proved to be superior to using Web Captioning and STT.
Both the hearing person and the deaf person require access to a PC,Laptop or Chromebook running an up-to-date
WebRTC aware browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Opera. The devices may be running Linux, MacOS, Mojave or Windows 10.
A requirement is that the deaf person has no problems with their vision or speech.

Briefly, the hearing person receives just the audio stream from the deaf person's Webcam.
The deaf person receives just the text application window shared by the hearing person.
Within the text application window the hearing person types in responses to the deaf person's questions and comments.

Testing was carried out with the deaf person using a Chromebook (12" screen) whilst I used my desktop PC running Chrome
under Bionicpup64 8.0 using a 23" monitor.
On my PC, Leafpad was used as the shared text application window.

More Detail:

The Video Conferencing & Screen Sharing application used is the free version of "Whereby".
The QuickStart Guide with links to more detailed help can be found here:


It is the hearing person who should set up a room and then send the link to the deaf person.
The deaf person should bookmark the link in their browser for future use. In order to reduce bandwidth usage to
a minimum the deaf person should turn off their Cam once they have entered the virtual room and established communication.

In the free version, when the hearing person shares the Leafpad window the video stream from their cam is cut off
whilst in the paid for version two video streams are sent (Cam & Application window)
The behaviour in the free version is in fact ideal for this purpose as bandwidth usage becomes minimal.
To reduce it even further the hearing person can turn off their Mic unless there is also a hearing person present
at the deaf person's end with whom you wish to communicate.

Once set up with browser bookmarks at both ends no logins or passwords are required.

Arranging a meeting:

With both parties in the same home, paper and pencil may suffice for something trivial or the deaf person may
phrase a question such that a simple yes or no answer is required in which case a thumbs up or down response will do.

This VC method comes into it's own when a lengthier more complex discussion is needed. Either person can simply
sign VC to the other when this is the case.

When the parties are in different physical locations a pre-arranged time of day may be suitable.
An ad hoc VC could be arranged by email or SMS message if the deaf person has their mobile set to vibrate mode.


Font size within the shared Leafpad window will need to be adjusted and this can be done on the fly with the deaf person.
Bear in mind that the application window & the text within it will shrink down if sending to a smaller monitor.
To compensate for that something in the range of 36pt to 56pt should do the trick.
The standard monospace font is recommended.

Don't try sharing a window playing a video as FPS is limited to 5fps. Resolution is up to 1080p.

The help on sharing within Whereby shows a side by side arrangement for sharing but a top bottom share proved to be
better particularly when sending to a small 10.6" netbook screen.

The hearing person should start things off by entering the virtual room and unlocking it.
They should therefore enter the room a few minutes before any pre-arranged call.
If they forget to unlock the room a virtual knock message & tone will be heard when the deaf person attempts to access,
They can then simply unlock the virtual room.

Shared Screenshot Album:

Only one shot there at present showing the arrangement on my monitor.


Regards ETP


Last edited by ETP on Wed 04 Dec 2019, 13:26; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 04 Dec 2005
Posts: 833

PostPosted: Sun 01 Dec 2019, 13:18    Post subject:  

neat idea, thanks for posting.
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Joined: 19 Oct 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec 2019, 05:38    Post subject: How to communicate with a totally deaf person.
Subject description: Update to Whereby.

Update to Whereby.

Please note that on 4th December Whereby introduced a facelift to their web interface.
Most changes are under the hood to improve performance.
The toolbar at the bottom of the screen has new icons, but the same obvious functionality.

One major imrovement is:

Guests with iOS 13, will now be able to join meetings in Safari on their iPhone and iPad,
without having to install the iOS app.

Full details of the revisions can be found here:


Regards ETP

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