The technology for closed-captioning television & video content has been available since 1972, but in 2018 we still have a long way to go in making high quality accurate captioning accessible for all. I made this static image and then the animations below followed. I wanted to examine and share what it was like trying to follow various TV shows and TV content from the late 1970’s and 1980’s. I missed a lot of what was said. Making the volume louder doesn’t mean one “hears it better”. Cartoons saved a lot of that frustration because they weren’t co-dependent on sound. I fell in love with cartoons for their flat colors, visual stimulation and humor. The sound wasn’t needed to follow the narratives and actions of the characters. This always stuck with me. It contributed to training my eyes to “see” what I could’t hear.
I have learned so much creating, expressing and participating in #deafawarenessmonth this past month (September 2018) The Internet has obviously opened the doors and plays a vital role in how our content is shared, re-shared and discussed. I met some really amazing new people. This is only the beginning though, there is much work to do in bringing more accessibility and awareness to the public. Im learning more about what my role is especially as a Deaf / H of H educator working with mostly hearing people. I can raise awareness, be an example and help “bridge” us together in the classroom and beyond. Im proud to be a part of the Deaf community and using my art as a medium for change and awareness. This animation below is a reminder that there are many degrees and spectrums of being Deaf and hard of hearing. Communication can be extremely challenging and every day is different. Every space and degree of noise can greatly effect how and what a Deaf or H of H person may experience. People need to be aware of this, be sensitive to it and take notice.
Below, I made this new animation for Deaf awareness month and Deaf awareness week to show a visual representation of what trying to communicate on a phone (of any kind) is like for me (and a lot of us who where hearing aids or have CIs) It is the absolute most frustrating experience. Most Deaf and hard of hearing people who wear hearing aids or CIs need a very quite space and place to use a phone of any kind. Not everyone has a caption phone or that kind of technology accessible at all times. When someone sends me a text and asks about “Jumping on a quick a call” with me, its a statement that induces an automatic bolt of anxiety. That request does not work for me. I no longer attempt to answer phone calls that are not planned in advance. I need to know the person on the other end is committed to also being in a quite space with out other noisy distractions and competing sounds. I prefer to use video chat so that I can see the mouth and lips of the person on the other end. Of course, using text messages, messenger chat apps and email is always a sure form of easier accessibility.