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Caption It! campaign launches to support Hearing Week

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

This week New Zealanders will acknowledge Hearing Week (24 - 30 March), and The National Foundation for the Deaf is calling for everyone to celebrate recent progressive advancements in technology - which have been supporting the communication of people who are hard of hearing.

With a growing range of technology available for Kiwis who are deaf and hearing impaired, technology is fundamental to their daily lives through the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM and Bluetooth microphones and, as well, captioning of broadcast mediums. Technology does make a world of difference to many lives.

However, technology is not available to everyone who is hard of hearing - only 13% of people who need hearing aids wear them in the western world and an unbelievable 3% who need them have them in third world countries.

New Zealand’s rate of public broadcasting captioning, at 19.7% over a 24 hour period, sits at the level of that seen in third world countries. This compares poorly to approximately 85% in Australia and 100% in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Because of this lack of captioning, thousands of New Zealanders are being denied access to basic information such as news bulletins during states of civil emergency as happened in the recent Seddon earthquakes.

Louise Carroll, CEO of The National Foundation for the Deaf says, "Technology is crucial to the lives of so many New Zealanders. At the current low level of captioning, we are severely impeding community integration for people who are hard of hearing.

The "Caption It! Campaign will raise awareness on the very real need for 100% captioning, supporting people who are hard of hearing to achieve an inclusive, positive future."

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