With any new technology, it’s always the privileged who are accomodated first, and the rest left to fend for themselves, left to fight against being left behind. The same goes for the deaf.
Alexander Graham Bell may have invented the telephone because his mother was deaf (he also advocated and practiced oralism), but his invention ended up being a sound based device that did nothing for the deaf. Affordable telegraphs with flashing lights would have done more to help them.
But with the advent of cell phones came text messaging, which one would think would benefit the deaf. Unfortunately, in the early days of cell phones, telephone companies weren’t very enlightened, courteous or forward thinking. I can imagine this was a real conversation more than once:
Customer: “I need cell phone service with text only.”
Telecom: “Here’s out voice and text plan.”
Customer: “I’m deaf, I only want a text plan.”
Telecom: “If you can’t hear, why would you need a telephone?”