Do You Have Equal Access to Communication at Your House of Worship?

Are you or know someone feeling left out at your church because they are unable to hear during services or at events?   Are you bluffing, pretending you heard to fit in with other family or friends who hear fine?   Do you know people with hearing loss all around the world have the same issue as you?  If you were able to change something so that you could read the presenter’s sermon, would you?    Maybe you would, but do not even know about CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation).  Most are familiar with closed captioning on TV monitor for broad cast programs or newscasts.   CART provides captioning at live theaters on individual devices for one person or a group of people or displayed on a screen or wall to benefit the entire audience.   CART is provided by a stenographer on-site or remotely by listening to the speaker and translates to captions on the devices or screen/wall.

People who have hearing loss can request captioning.   Captioning is beneficial to others who hear fine, but are unable to hear in noisy situations, such as restaurants or gyms.   Captioning also helps those learning English as a second language.   We want to give you a little boost of confidence to provide some details how to ask for captioning for the upcoming holiday church services or special events.    CCAC has put together a nice explanation of what CART is and why it is important to you so you can feel a sense of belonging and taking part of your holiday service with your loved ones and friends.   Thanks to Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC), you can read more here and print out a clean letter here to present to your house of worship.  As a bonus, a transcript of the captioning usually can be requested from the CART provider.  Your church can upload it to their website to share with others, which is an attractive feature to draw people to their church in the future.

Some folks prefer receiving a customized sound broadcast by setting their hearing aids or cochlear implants on the T-coil setting when the event has “hearing loop” technology.   After listening to Hearing Loop Demonstration – By Juliette Sterkens, AuD – YouTube you may email us at hlaakc@gmail.com for more information about Loop America.

Sign language interpreters are more common, but many must request in advance.  Below, the Overland Park Church of Christ always offers interpreters on Sundays without requests. Songs are always captioned on the monitor. Interpreters are provided for songs & live service, but captioning is not provided for live service.

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With these tools you now have, feel confident reaching out to the administration of your church and request captioning.  You will find others also enjoy it, plus people have a 50% better chance of remembering what was said if they can both hear and read it.  There is 48 million Americans with hearing loss.  20% or 1 in 5 have some degree in hearing loss, so you are not the only one.  Your family and friends can support your advocacy efforts knowing you will be more included makes everyone happier too.  No one likes to see someone get left out on what is said.   Be a change maker by speaking up what your needs are and make your house of worship communication accessible this holiday season.  If you don’t, no one can tell because hearing loss is invisible.

The following list of Faith Based Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Greater Kansas City is supplied by The Whole Person.  To find out the exact type of service provided, please contact the church directly.  Another great resource is National Deaf Association of the Deaf’s When Captioning is Required.

If you enjoyed this topic, please share with others.  Leave us a reply or email us if you know other house of worships with communication accommodations not listed or topics you would like to learn more about in future.

Have a wonderful holiday season and travel safely.

Hearing Loss Association of America Kansas City Chapter
The Kansas City Chapter is a Public Charity Status non-profit 501(c)(3) providing information, education, support, advocacy and networking for people with hearing loss, their families and friends.

Support captioning & sign our petition online:  Kansas: Turn On the TV Captions Now!
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