South Africa: Silenced Again - Time to Make Video-Conferencing and TV Broadcasts Accessible to the Hearing Impaired


Those with hearing loss face a constant battle to be equally accommodated in society's spaces. With the Covid-19 lockdown, they have been dealt an extra blow. The audio-visual accessibility features of online tools do not work optimally. The author tested several platforms with the help of members of the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities.

The Covid-19 lockdown forces people to rely on technology for almost all communication. In some cases, people spend hours on screens, fatigued by the intensified digital interaction or frustrated by audio and visual distortions if they don't have fibre connections. For people with hearing impairments, communicating with work colleagues, friends and family has become a lot more difficult.

The Covid-19 restrictions have greatly challenged our "normal" way of life. People are worried about their income, businesses, jobs, food for their families and their futures. The fortunate ones are working from home using modern technologies such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Whereby, and similar internet-based video communication platforms to get through the demands of the working day. Many already had some of this technology at home or were equipped by their employers to function from home.

Being enabled to keep in touch...

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