Today is my 30th birthday, so I'm writing this letter to Google
I'm going to put all the jokes about my youth coming to a close aside and talk about something that I usually don't ever speak of. The wave of technology in the past couple decades has been amazing. I used a lite brite as a kid. Now 3 year olds are using iPads. We've reached whole new levels but have somehow managed to ignore people with disabilities who could really benefit from these advancements. I know we all want to create things for recreation, but how about helping some people out along the way.
Hearing disabilities are rarely ever talked about and if you watched that deaf girl hear for the first time on youtube about a year ago, you'd think that deafness had been cured once and for all. Less than 1% of hearing impaired people in the U .S. could even benefit from the type of surgery she received, a procedure which even then costs $100,000 and is not covered by insurance. The rest have a different type of deafness or disability. Hearing impairment is not just for old people and in the 23 years since I got my first pair of hearing aids, the technology has barely changed at all. The cost hasn't changed either. I am blessed to have many other advantages in life and I barely consider this one to be a disability, but having watched the rest of the world transform from the Flinstones to the Jetsons, I can't help but wonder if it's almost too late for progress to start being made. How can an ear microphone seriously cost 5 grand?
If I had to make one request for a birthday present this year, it'd be for Google to announce an initiative to tackle this problem. If they can make Google Glass for $1,500 and talk about making it cheaper, then surely they can make affordable hearing aids and upgrade the tech by 20 years. Today I am 30, but a part of me has felt 80 years old since I was 7.
People say your message can get heard on Google+. I'm curious to see if that's true.+Google+ +Eric Schmidt +Vic Gundotra #hearingloss #hearingaid