Full communication accessibility is very important for deaf and hard of hearing people to make them feel included and enable them to enjoy the events and to contribute to the mainstream society on the equal basis with hearing peers.
There are many ways you can help with access to your events and media and improve your communication with deaf and hard of hearing people:
- Live events:
You can make them accessible via CART services and ask deaf and hard of hearing attendees if they need additional technologies and services.
- Streaming videos and webcasts:
You can make them accessible by adding live captions.
- Videos and podcasts:
You can make them accessible via captions and transcripts.
- Speech to text transcription:
If you are thinking about a new career, you can be trained to become a CART writer. Court reporting is one of the fastest growing professions.
- Visual language interpreting:
If you are interested in visual languages, you can get training to become an interpreter.
You can contact me for more questions or customized solutions.
I hope that the website helps more hearing people realize how often they take for granted when receiving information aurally and better understand frustrations experienced daily by those with little or no hearing and getting a better idea of how to make them feel included. Hearing people can easily overhear other people’s conversations and online/offline audio, gain access to education and participate in meetings and social events – knowledge and experience is acquired with little or no effort.
However, deaf and hard of hearing people do not receive this random information or must work very hard to get it.
I also hope that more people are open about communicating and sharing information via more various means than just via audio. Deafness and hearing loss is not something to be embarrassed about – deaf and hard of hearing people are not disabled by their hearing loss, but by the society who does not think about alternative ways to communicate with them. We are not to be judged by our hearing abilities and oral communication skills.
Hearing people also get themselves in such situations that make it hard for them to hear or understand audio or even each other, so alternative methods of communication are helpful to them, too.
I look forward to the times when more of us can enjoy full accessibility to communication and information exchange regardless of our disabilities or environmental constraints, and captions will become so widely used along with audio that the general population will not imagine how generations before it could live without universal access.
Let’s think outside of the EAR!