“Read Captions Across America,” World Hearing Day Celebrated this Week

Mar 1 2021 David Titmus
Father and daughter reading captions from a tablet.

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There are a few important captioning and hearing awareness initiatives planned over the next few days in the U.S. and around the world. Check out below some of the events happening this week!

● “Read Captions Across America” (RCAA) is held each year in conjunction with the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America” event − an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading. The events traditionally are celebrated on March 2, the birthday of children’s author Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss to you and me.

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) partners with the NEA for this activity, with the DCMP placing emphasis on the benefits of reading captions.

Read Captions Across America poster“Read Captions Across America” is designed to raise awareness that captioned video-based media, as many schools have found, can be just as effective at encouraging and fostering reading skills as books.

Though captioning is essential for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, it also is beneficial for those learning English as a second language, can aid students with reading and literacy problems, and can help those who are learning to read.

Captions have been shown to help children with word identification, meaning, acquisition, and retention, and captioning has been linked to higher comprehension skills when compared to viewers watching the same media without captions.

The Described and Captioned Media Program provides services to support and improve the academic achievement of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf, the DCMP supports “Read Across America” by providing free-loan educational captioned media (DVD, CD-ROM, and Internet streaming) for teachers and families who have students with a hearing loss and by sharing guidelines for adding descriptions and captions to media.

World Hearing Day theme image, a drawing of people of all abilities● Additionally, World Hearing Day 2021 will be celebrated Wednesday, March 3. The day, held each year through the World Health Organization (WHO), draws attention to the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss.

This year’s World Hearing Day theme is “Hearing Care for All,” and will be marked by a significant development: WHO’s release of the World Report on Hearing on March 3.

In the United States, hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition. The number of adults aged 20 years or older with hearing loss is projected to increase from 44.1 million in 2020 (15% of adults aged 20 and older) to 73.5 million by 2060 (23% of adults 20 and older), making it a growing public health concern.

● World Hearing Day also falls within Hearing Awareness Week (March 1-7). Originally celebrated in Australia, Hearing Awareness Week has been adopted in a number of other countries and promotes greater community awareness and understanding of hearing access, which is an important part of achieving communication access for all.

VITAC is proud of our work in bringing accurate, high-quality captions to millions of caption viewers as well as our strong advocacy for the rights of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. We believe in “Accessibility for Life” and the need to make accessible content standard.