September is Deaf Awareness Month in the United States − a month-long celebration dedicated to increasing public awareness of deaf culture and deaf issues as well as recognizing the heritage and language unique to the deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHOH) community.
Advocacy groups and organizations across the country are hosting educational programs and sharing information on available support services and resources.
The month also encourages everyone to, among other things:
- Learn about inclusion and accessibility, including the importance of providing captioned content or sign language interpreters in, among other places, corporate, classroom, or live sporting and entertainment settings.
- Discover ways to promote the rights of deaf people and access to education and technologies.
- Educate about the misconceptions of being deaf and the challenges the deaf population face in everyday life.
- Understand that deaf and hard of hearing individuals are just as capable and able as hearing individuals.
Deaf Awareness Month began in 1958 as the “International Day of the Deaf,” and was first celebrated by the World Federation of the Deaf. The day later was extended to a full week, becoming the International Week of the Deaf. Though different countries and regions of the world celebrate differently, the purpose of the event remains true across borders.
VITAC has worked with caption viewers and advocacy groups for more than 30 years, and strongly believes in “Accessibility for Life” and the need to make accessible content standard.
Captions and accessible content benefit millions of people, including:
- The more than 50 million Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing;
- The estimated three million children learning to read who use captioning as a tool to improve reading and listening skills;
- The 10 million people over the age of 17 for whom English is not their first language and use captioned television as a powerful and effective literacy and language-learning tool;
- The two million Americans over the age of 62 who suffer from hearing loss and do not use hearing aids; and
- The one-third of all veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer substantial hearing loss.
VITAC proudly supports the rights and needs of the DHOH community, and we stand by our commitment to provide captions and accessible solutions for our clients, while, perhaps most importantly, maintaining the highest quality for our consumers, the tens of millions of Americans who rely on captioning every day.