Recently I had the privilege to attend a friend’s wedding where I was more than amazed by all my surroundings. The wedding itself was beautiful. The bride and groom were as giddy as high school sweethearts, flowers were in bloom and the setting sun painted a gorgeous backdrop behind maple trees turning their fall color. All of these things were special and unique in their own way, but they are not what most intrigued me. The silence is what captivated me that evening!
There was an interpreter on each side of the bride and groom signing the vows as they were spoken since the bride’s parents and most of the guest are deaf. After the “I dos” came loud applause and cheers. Then, when the bride and groom were whisked away for pictures, silence fell over the crowd.
To me it was an uneasy silence, being there among so many people and not really hearing anyone talking. For a moment I felt as if I was stuck in some sci-fi drama where all the people lost their voices and there was no sound in the world! My eyes saw what my ears could not hear…people were talking, mingling, hugging and catching up on the lives of one another. In that moment, I heard the conversations and felt part of a community I hadn’t seen before.
As a conferencing company, our job is to help people talk, share and engage. We realize that sometimes that happens in different ways, which is why we support customers who are deaf or may have difficulty hearing. Through Relay Conference Captioning, those who are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech loss can still participate in conferences. This service offers one-way text streaming or two-way text and voice streaming so everyone can communicate during an audio conference call.
Ten percent of the total population has some type of hearing loss and about one percent is deaf. How is your company working to communicate effectively with these members of your organization?