How to Make Your Events Accessible for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Attendees
As an independent consultant and speaker, I am not able to attend events and present there as often as I would like to. It’s an important way for me to be able to learn from other speakers, to network with other professionals, and to meet potential clients. It is hard enough to be an independent consultant, it is much harder for me to be an attendee with hearing loss. I’m often being excluded and feeling frustrated due to communication access barriers that event organizers could easily remove by providing quality communication access services such as live captioning or sign language interpreters or both. Some event organizers are more than happy enough to provide those services but most do not.
There are around 50 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in USA which is 20% of total population. Many of them are frustrated with social stigma and lack of accessibility in education, employment, entertainment, and live events. They often face resistance barriers that society could easily remove by providing full and equal access to aural information via quality captioning, sign language, and other alternative types of communication. Not all people are same in terms of hearing and communication abilities, so there’s no one size fit all for everyone or for all situations.