“Read Captions Across America,” World Hearing Day Celebrated this Weekend

by: David Titmus

There are a few important captioning and hearing awareness initiatives planned over the next few days in the U.S. and around the world. Check out below some of the events happening this weekend!

● “Read Captions Across America” (RCAA) is held each year in conjunction with the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America” event − an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading. The events traditionally are celebrated on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss to you and me. (Though when the day falls on a weekend, like this year, it’s often up to teachers and educators to decide when to celebrate it.)

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) partners with the NEA for this activity, with the DCMP placing emphasis on the benefits of reading captions.

Read Captions Across America poster“Read Captions Across America” is designed to raise awareness that captioned video-based media, as many schools have found, can be just as effective at encouraging and fostering reading skills as books.

Though captioning is essential for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, it also is beneficial to those learning English as a second language, can aid those with reading and literacy problems, and can help those who are learning to read.

Captions have been shown to help children with word identification, meaning, acquisition, and retention, and captioning has been linked to higher comprehension skills when compared to viewers watching the same media without captions.

The Described and Captioned Media Program provides services to support and improve the academic achievement of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf, the DCMP supports “Read Across America” by providing free-loan educational captioned media (DVD, CD-ROM, and Internet streaming) for teachers and families who have students with a hearing loss and by sharing guidelines for adding descriptions and captions to media.

World Hearing Day "Check Your Hearing" button● Additionally, World Hearing Day 2019 will be celebrated this Sunday, March 3. The day, held each year through the World Health Organization, draws attention to the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss. The day is designed to promote awareness about the importance of hearing, and encourage people to check their hearing regularly and practice safe listening, especially those who work in noisy places or listen to music at high volumes for lengthy periods. The World Health Organization also will launch a free app on Sunday that enables people to check their hearing.

● World Hearing Day also coincides with the start of Hearing Awareness Week (March 3-9). Though originally celebrated in Australia, Hearing Awareness Week has been adopted in a number of other countries and promotes greater community awareness and understanding of hearing access, which is an important part of achieving communication access for all.

VITAC is proud of our work in bringing accurate, high-quality captions to millions of caption viewers as well as our strong advocacy for the rights of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. We believe in “Accessibility for Life” and the need to make accessible content standard.