5 Tips to Improve the Web for Hearing Disabilities

In a study conducted by Google in 2008, it was found that there are more deaf and hard of hearing users with access needs in the US than all of the Internet users in Spain!  

How would the loss of your hearing affect you on the Internet?

There are three types of auditory impairments, any of which can be caused by accident, illness, environment, heredity, aging:

  • Deafness, or the inability to understand speech even with amplification.
  • Hearing impairment, or diminished ability to understand human speech.
  • Deaf-blindness, or the combined inability to see and hear.

Auditory impairment impacts all ages but is more common with age, and those affected miss more content as multimedia, podcasts, audio, and video become more common.  Audio content and video without sound are challenging, and users can also miss audio alerts from applications.  These users rely on visual cues and video captions.

Tips to improve web accessibility:

  1. Avoid requiring audio to interact with the application.
  2. Add captions to all video content.
  3. Create text transcripts for audio content.
  4. Provide redundant cues: audio plus visual text equivalents.
  5. Make sure your content is keyboard accessible: deaf-blind users can use screen readers that covert text to Braille on refreshable Braille devices.

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