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Advocacy Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Misconceptions Setting limits

Get Out of Your Own Way

Written by Michele Linder

It is tempting to frame disability in the context of limitations. Certainly, Hard of Hearing (HoH) people face a communication barrier. That means they either find workarounds in situations where communication is a challenge, or give up and accept less out of life.

Getting hung up on what we can’t do is a natural tendency when we are going through the stages of emotional trauma that hearing loss forces upon us. However, we can choose to come out the other side a better person.

Fear is the vehicle for unnecessary limitations, and can rob anyone of a life well-lived. Having a barrier makes it easy to justify I can’t.

When others tell you that you CAN’T do something because of your hearing loss, it is your decision to accept or reject that limit. You determine what limits are acceptable, and those that are not. 

Categories
Emotions, Psychological Stress Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Shame/Stigma/Denial

The Emotional Side of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss comes with a cycle of emotions—sadness, grief, anger, depression, pain of isolation, and feeling panicked at not being able to do things in exactly the same way as you used to, or not all. One of the biggest things most people miss about hearing loss is how emotional it is. 

Big moments—a loss that is glaringly and painfully apparent—and day-to-day challenges make life with hearing loss an ongoing rollercoaster of emotions.

Categories
Accessibility Advocacy Captioning CART (live captioning) deaf Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Speech to Text Captions Stenographers

Global Alliance, Speech-to-Text Captioning

Meet our next guest, Jennifer Schuck, current Board of Directors Chair and Founding Member of Global Alliance Speech to Text Captioning. Global Alliance is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to be the leading professional authority on speech-to-text captioning, representing all captioners, consumers, and industry.

GLOBAL ALLIANCE

It has been two years since the Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning was founded for the purpose of bringing together the captioning community to empower consumers who rely on captioning. There is no other organization that brings professionals, consumers, advocates, and the industry together to effect change. It is easy to think “I’ll wait to see what this group does before I join.” Often this means everyone is waiting and no one is joining and not a lot of work gets done. An organization is only as effective as its members. So with few members, the change is limited. There is much about the captioning industry that needs to be changed, but we need everyone’s voice to do it! Don’t wait for someone else to make the change you want to happen. Be part of the solution. 

Quality Captioning, it matters!

COVID-19 has changed our world in many ways, including bringing to light the magnitude of how inaccessible our world is to communities with disabilities. Quality captioning is equal access. Collectively we can educate every day to show how universal design principles make the world inclusive for communities that have been an afterthought or excluded entirely. Providing “captioning” cannot just be putting words on a screen so you can check an item on a to-do list. Those words must be accurate and actually provide accessibility. 

The Global Alliance has created the NCSP, or the NER-Certified Speech-to-Text Provider, certification. With this certification, we’re setting the quality standard for realtime captioning. This certification is available for all captioning methods, including automatic speech recognition. A quality standard for all methods of captioning is critical. With the advancement of technology, each captioning method has a place for equal access, but all of those lanes need to meet a quality standard, which they currently do not. Without that, captions can cause confusion, misinformation, and frustration for the consumer. 

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Visit speechtotextcaptioning.org to learn more, view our events calendar, or join as a member. 

Captions fill in the gaps.

Chelle: While I appreciate assistive listening devices (ALDs) and systems, there are many of us with severe and profound hearing loss who cannot completely benefit from ALDs alone. Like attending plays at Salt Lake Acting Company, I hear more with captions. With ALDs, I pick up sound but it’s not enough to compensate for my hearing loss. CART/captions fill in the gaps for me.

During the pandemic, CART was in high demand and finally got its due by being used a lot for online meetings and classes. It was hard to get CART on short notice. I was happy for the CART profession but it was darn hard to get true CART! Court reporters were used to fill in with “CART” but it was different from what we were used to. At first, court reporters used a different platform that could be difficult to get into, which often held up meetings. Captions were also broken down into seconds and hardly ever a full sentence. I found myself zoning out after half an hour. We offered advice as a community and in the end things improved. Training specifically for CART is needed. We like to read fluid notes with complete sentences and punctuation. I’m glad to see Global Alliance is offering certification for CART services.

Jen’s message above is important. We ALL need to participate to make changes. There’s power in numbers. The stage is set, it’s up to us. 

Consumer Captioning Advocate

Michele: As a Consumer Captioning Advocate for over eleven years, I have made a few discoveries:

  • You can never have too many places to network with others who are working toward quality captioning and its universal availability.
  • Surrounding yourself with people who know more than you, or who know the answers to the questions you will likely be asked while advocating, is invaluable.

Consumers, providers, technical and legal experts, and industry leaders are all in the movement for quality captioning together. The world doesn’t yet understand how much quality matters in captioning, or how important captioning is to the Hard of Hearing (HoH) community. CART, which uses live stenographers, is the gold standard of speech-to-text captioning, and it is what more than 95% of people with hearing loss need for full and equal communication access in their spoken language.

Captions are Access to Communication

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) recognizes CART as a reasonable communication access accommodation for the Hard of Hearing. CART provides communication access in exactly the same way as ASL Interpretation does for the culturally Deaf. 

I consider organizations like Global Alliance to be clearing houses for anyone with a stake in speech-to-text captioning. We learn a lot from one another, and when you have a mixed group collaborating to reach the same objective, each person arrives at a better understanding of the other’s role in the movement. And, a collective voice often makes a bigger impact.

Global Alliance Speech to Text

Julia: As a CART provider, I am excited to have an organization come into existence that is all about helping the US move forward with a better license option for captioning/CART. Though my test anxiety is to the extreme, I will be signing up and looking forward to this certification. 

If you are a CART provider, captioner, voice writer, TypeWell writer, or ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) app inventor go to Global Alliance and help us to come together and support consumers in whatever their needs are.

Consumers, please consider advocating for captioning. There are too many HoH people waiting for others to exact change. It will take all of us asking for what we need to make lasting change. Global Alliance has a wonderful Guidelines for Captioning Services document on their website to help get you started on asking for what you need. The document will help you better understand the various forms and methods of captioning.

Become a Global Alliance Member


Consider becoming a member of the Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning, and if you need more help, contact Hearing Loss LIVE! and we would be happy to assist you further.

View our companion podcast with Jen Schuck of Global Alliance. Find the transcript on our BuzzSprout page.

If you liked this post, try CART/AI Captioning to learn the difference between CART services and automatic speech recognition. Also try InnoCaption who uses CART providers for their services. There are also Open Captions for Live Theatre.

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Categories
Accessibility Advocacy Captioning Connections deaf Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Live Theatre Open-Captioned Live Theatre

Open Captions with the Salt Lake Acting Company

This week Hearing Loss LIVE! welcomes Natalie Keezer, Accessibility Coordinator for the Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC), to talk about their open captions showings.  Every play run, they have one night of open captions. She talks about how to fund captions and why it’s the right thing to do.

Natalie Keezer has a Master of Arts Degree in Theatre from Idaho State University and is a graduate of The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Training Program in Los Angeles. She relocated to Salt Lake City in 2014 and is inspired by the amazing theatre community in Utah. Natalie loves working at Salt Lake Acting Company and is incredibly grateful to be involved in the important work that is being done there.

If anyone is interested in attending an open-captioned performance at SLAC, you can email Natalie at natalie@saltlakeactingcompany.org and mention Hearing Loss LIVE! for tickets.

Welcome back, with open captions!
Categories
Accessibility Accessing Music Advocacy Connections deaf Hard of Hearing Hearing Loss Hearing Technology

Hard of Hearing Community Members: Maclain Drake

Why get to know other people in the hearing loss community? Because they provide valuable resources and inspire us. Spreading hearing loss awareness is going to take a lot of us working together and as individuals. Connections in the community provide more resources.

Maclain Drake lives in Utah and is a favorite in the hearing loss community. He has so much energy! He’s an actor and a DJ. As the owner of Vibe Music Events, he makes music accessible to those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH). His energy is infectious and he is always asking us what he can do to help further HoH awareness. Wherever he goes, he asks what is available for people with hearing loss, and educates venues on our communication needs.

Maclain inspires many of us here, so we thought we’d introduce him to all of you.