Deaf Awareness Week (2018): Are Subtitles And Closed Captions Important?

Deaf Awareness Week (2018): Are Subtitles And Closed Captions Important?

deaf awareness week 2018

Did you know?

Being the third most common disability in the world, every 1 in every 6 people are affected by the loss of hearing, with approximately a 30% of those affected being of a working age.

But…

Why do we care, right?

To be honest, I didn’t. I was very ignorant to this community – until I’ve heard what they hear and felt what they feel…

What happened to me?

Well, it all started with a casual swim and had my ear stuck with water as I always did. So I let it slip, thinking that’s nothing to be worried about. But little did I know that I’d be living with it in my head for the next whole month (even after seeing a doctor). Throughout the whole month, all I could hear was muffled voices.

Stupid.

You must think.

But, the feeling of missing out when people are chatting but you don’t understand a word,

the feeling when your friends just gave up talking to you because you couldn’t hear them,

being called rude because you didn’t say “Hi” back to the one that you never heard,

and living in the constant fear of this might be how it’s going to be for the rest of your life…

Those feelings sucked.

Now, magnify those emotions and that’s how they feel 24-7, without a deadline. Do you see how strong the deaf people are, emotionally? Studies shown, not being able to hear what’s happening around us, induces a strong sense of insecurity and causes a 60% or higher chance to get anxiety or depression.

But, it doesn’t have to stay this way.

We can make it better for them, and for us. By raising awareness in this Deaf Awareness Week.

deaf awareness week 2018

Starting from May 15th to May 21st is the Deaf Awareness Week 2018. This is to raise awareness and improve the lives of those who are living with hearing loss by removing communication barriers and developing new technology.

With this in mind, we want to talk about a topic that’s been bluntly ignored and belittled for far too long.

The Importance Of Subtitles and Closed Captions

Caring is understanding.

The first step to show love to this community is to understand them. Understand what they are going through, and what can we do to help.

Subtitles vs Closed Captions

deaf awareness week 2018

Why are they so important to the deaf community?

Try watching the Avengers: Infinity War, and see what do you feel about half of the lives in the universe just miraculously fade into oblivion.

It’d be pretty ridiculous, right?

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of audio when we are so used to having the blessing of hearing and often take it for granted.

Without hearing, visual is all they’ve left to understand the context of a video. So, having subtitles and closed captions in the media is the fastest and most effective way to communicate with the deaf community.

What can we do?

If you’re a film producer, a videographer or an online influencer, include subtitles and closed captions in your products. Don’t leave the whole community out.

And as for every single human being walking the earth, treat the deaf community as any other normal person. Show empathy not sympathy. Also, be aware that they still have many other ways to communicate, such as sign language and lip-reading.

deaf awareness week 2018 sign language

TIP: It’s best if you’re able to learn sign language. It feels just as good to them as you feel when a foreigner speaks your language.

One last advice for all of us to remember. Don’t give up. When you’re trying to communicate with a deaf person, even if it takes 4-5 times for them to understand what you’re trying to say. Don’t give up. Never say, “Oh, forget it. It doesn’t matter”. It only feels like you’re saying “ Oh, forget it. You don’t matter”.

Remember.

Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Be kind. And show the world the love it deserves.

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Basil Tiong About the author

A picture speaks a thousand words. A sentence covers a thousand feels. I believe communication is a miracle created not to be mastered but to be embraced. You might see communication as a skill, but I see it as an art. I call myself an artist. Cause I write – so the words can sing your story. And I design – so the graphics can speak your soul. Often, when I do both, the story is sold. Tell me your story, and we’ll make the world listen.