Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) is live captioning, an accommodation for the deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) who have difficulty hearing speech clearly. A stenographer (like a court reporter) sits in the meeting, either in person or remotely, and types everything that is said in real-time to be displayed on various types of screens for people with hearing loss to read. The majority of people with hearing loss are not part of Deaf culture, and do not know sign language. CART allows the HoH community full and equal access to communication at live speaking events in the same way that ASL interpretation does for the Deaf community.
Self advocacy is taking responsibility for your own communication needs as a person with hearing loss by…
- becoming self-aware and knowledgeable about your hearing loss and needs.
- familiarizing yourself with the tools, technology, and accommodations available to you.
- developing an ability to describe your needs to others.
- learning the how, who, and when to ask for assistance.
It is never too early or too late to become a good self advocate.
Family and communication can be tough when you have a communication barrier. There are so many misconceptions and misunderstandings around hearing loss and hearing devices. If we aren’t around others with hearing loss, we may not have all the information we need. That impacts our relationships.
Defining our needs as a community of Hard of Hearing (HoH) people who use spoken and written language to communicate is a challenge due to the diversity of hearing loss.
As an individual, defining your own specific needs, depending where you fall on the hearing loss spectrum, is one of the most important things you will do. The earlier it happens, the better.
The Deaf Community is well-respected and admired for their accomplishments, and rightly so. They have fought long and hard for recognition of their language and culture. Deaf people influenced the passage of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Their culture, community, and communication needs are visible and well-known. For that reason, anyone with hearing loss is commonly lumped together with the Deaf, labeled as hearing impaired or people with hearing loss (pwhl), and assumed to communicate fluently in sign language.
Ignorance is certainly not bliss where hearing loss is concerned. Once diagnosed, the Hard of Hearing are desperate for a map to help them navigate the pitfalls and gaps that lie between what they don’t know that they don’t know and information that allows them to function in life. As patients and family members, they look to those who they assume can guide them and fill in the gaps—hearing healthcare professionals.