People who are Significantly Hard of Hearing (SHOH) generally stay away from events because they cannot understand what is being said; but they can be attracted back to these venues with a relatively easy fix. The key is to provide visual information that allows us to fill in the blanks in what we hear. The best way to do this is through captioning -- putting the spoken or sung words into visual form, and displaying the resulting text where it can be seen either by everyone or by those who wish to see it.
Providing captions will attract a sizable group who have not been attending due to not being able to understand what is being said – this is good for business; it is also required under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA requires public accommodations to provide "auxiliary aids and services" to enable individuals with disabilities such as hearing loss to fully enjoy a business's offerings. Auxiliary aids and services specifically include captioning and, to the extent reasonably possible, the specific needs of an organization’s patrons must be considered. Since audio assistive devices do not address the needs of the SHOH, providing captioned events is part of the cost of doing business and needs to be provided for the missing audience.
We work with various public places to stress the importance of making their presentations accessible through captioning, and to becoming patrons of these businesses.
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