"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Churches and the Hearing Impaired

For many of my peers, coming into deafness late in life is a struggle. I am fortunate, though, because I learned the basics of Sign Language years ago, and I continue to learn today. However, so many older adults never had the opportunity. Learning a new language at this stage of life can be incredibly difficult. Many have arthritis which makes signing difficult. It's also not easy to recall the vocabulary and nuances of new or foreign language.

For this generation, worship services are extremely difficult. While many churches are thoughtful enough to offer ASL interpreters for the deaf, they overlook having Captions for the late deafened adults who are caught in a wedge between the two worlds.

Churches would be surprised to see how easy it is to provide CART,  Real Time Captioning. All it takes is a computer, a screen and a typist or stenographer. It is quite simple to do, and wouldn't cost much if someone volunteered their time and talent. If no one knows how to do this, there are wonderful professionals available to provide the service remotely over the internet. The technology to do this is amazing and worth the investment. It is heartbreaking to see Churches that are incredibly "financially healthy" sending thousands of dollars overseas to connect people with God, but neglecting the very people in their neighborhood the very same opportunity by simply providing captions.

People are asking their churches everywhere to provide this service. How wonderful that some churches have jumped immediately to meet this need.

How wonderful that Jesus made the effort to visit the women, the children and the sick and disabled and whoever was seeking God. He took the time to be sure they were cared for, their needs were met, and that they knew by his actions that he loved them. He made the intentional effort to see that they heard the Good News God had for them. God is inclusive.

Providing Captions is such a small thing to do for your neighbor, yet it is an incredibly huge action of love.

Encourage your church to provide this service, and PUBLICIZE that it is available in your literature, in your announcements, everywhere you can. People are looking for God and a place to "see" the word of  God acted upon with intention, in word, and in deed.

Want to know more? Here are a few places with more information:

CCAC aprovides information and support for "Community" access via captioning, such as this webpage on our site: http://ccacaptioning.org/cart-community-clubs-religious-organizations-social-groups/

Need Captions? Just ask here: CaptionMatch.com

Great video and info here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7997085






  1. I confess to being a total atheist but.... learning a new language/means of communication (They aren't the same), is indeed an very big ask to older people, whoare up against the sterotype of "Old people always go hard of hearing' so assumed a dotty aunt or Uncle or something, but the misery can last the rest of their lives. It is why I demanded in the UK a system of rehabilitation and re-learning is offered alongside an hearing aid or diagnosis of loss. Currently the UK offer 2 things, a lip-reading class, which demands you still have residual/useful hearing, or, a sign language class which demands you belong to a different culture and lifestyle to obtain any use from it, to me neither seems to be working at all.

    1. pressive HandzMay 8, 2012 7:51 AM
      MM, there should be training and classes along with the dispense of hearing aids. Hopefully, that will someday be a reality.

  2. Thank you for writing this, it is my lifelong frustration attending church and could not be able to partipate. I was born with hearing loss and it was a struggle to follow sermon until I stopped going.

    Your blog provides good pointers where churches and volunteers can provide captions such as CART and the links on how to obtain is very helpful.

    God Bless you

    1. Deb, thank you for sharing your struggle, and for your kind compliment.

  3. Thanks for the mention of the CCAC here Joyce. And may we add this to your list of resources above? - http://CaptionMatch.com is a new way to "just ask" for the captioning or CART you may need anyplace, including for church or similar community events.

    CaptionMatch is not a captioning company, yet a handy service from the CCAC to offer consumers a way to find and select a provider to work with. It also offers providers a way to find extra work. And --- users of CaptionMatch provide concrete support for continuing CCAC captioning advocacy activities.

    Happy Sunday to all - the sun is shining in my town today, instead of much rain, and we thank all the goddesses who understand the CCAC mission for inclusion.

  4. Thank you, Lauren, for providing MORE information. I have added CaptionMatch.com to the blog, and moved BOTH links to the upper right of my page. Captions are so important in today's society, it really needs to be a top priority for all. I will be adding your blog link, as well, under "Blogs I like to visit".

    Have a lovely day, Lauren!

    Joyce - Xpressive Handz