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Is Apple taking hearing aids into the mainstream?

Apple’s new iPhone 4 is just hitting the shelves here in the UK. One of its big selling points is its live video chat – you can see the person calling as well as hearing them. Apple have a new advert out showcasing this and amazingly it features two people using the phone to communicate using ASL and, not only that, it also pans around to the back of the guy’s head to show his hearing aid. Here it is:

I’m well impressed. Not only is this phone an incredibly useful gadget for those whose who sign, Apple have realised that they have a potentially massive deaf/hoh userbase and they aren’t scared to market to them. They’re sticking a communication product for the hearing impaired that is normally marketed in niche magazines and websites and putting it on prime-time TV. I feel like we’ve turned a corner.

We can also add this to the growing understanding and exposure in the media of hearing loss and the needs of the people that suffer from it. This may go some way to helping hearing aids be a bit cooler and less of an old people’s thing.

I guess this post sounds a bit like an Apple love-in but I was just plain shocked when I saw the advert for the first time. Feels like a big thing to me.

Is the guy signing in the advert Matt Damon? Sure looks like him.