Well, this whole pandemic thing seems to have set access for people who are deaf/hard-of-hearing back a few years. Lots of services have gone virtual. That's pretty awesome and I'm glad the technology is there. But, for those of us who may need interpreters or who rely on visual/aural clues that just isn't transferred across with technology or who didn't pay for upgraded services...well, it feels like we're back in the days before smart phones. Even automated captions is a step up...but not everyone thinks to turn them on. And the most popular platform for interacting right now? Zoom. And Zoom's automated captions are after the fact, not during. 🤷🏾♂️
So, could I demand access? Of course! But every single business out there is being hit economically, some more than others. I don't feel comfortable adding to their financial burden by requesting they spend some of their limited funds on interpreters. Of course, there are options out there that cost nothing. But some of those options (Zoom, anyone?) are just as good as no options at all. I don't feel like now is the time to demand equality.
But there's a silver lining in all of this angst for me: my speech discrimination score is climbing like a billy goat on Mount Everest!! Seriously!
This past week, I've participated in no less than 8 video meetings. Only 2 of those meetings were meetings where I got frustrated. Last week, it was about 50% frustration. The week before that? I avoided those meetings where I conceivably could, made sure I could do other things as unobtrusively as possible if I was required to be there.
Tonight, I turned on some old Alan Jackson music. And right from the get go, I was understanding the lyrics in the song!! Holy crap! I mean, golly!
So, yea, this pandemic is a bucket of darkness. But the silver lining is that access via aural input is steadily getting easier for me. I'm continually identifying and re-identifying sounds as they are continually clarifying. Music is so freaking complex and it keeps getting more and more complex. I almost don't recognize many of my favorite songs. Some of them I enjoy more, some of them, I enjoy less (sometimes FAR less) but all of it is a pleasure to experience. 😊
As always, thank you for listening! 🤟🏾💝🤟🏾