Hearing loss advocate, Shari Eberts, has launched a petition on Change.org, seeking free automatic speech recognition (ASR) captioning for people with hearing loss on video conference platforms such as Zoom and Google.
“People with hearing loss have trouble communicating in many situations leading to isolation and loneliness during normal times,” said Shari Eberts, founder of livingwithhearingloss.com. “Today, amid COVID-19, things are even tougher. In-person conversation has moved online, leaving many people with hearing loss few options for connecting with family and friends, especially seniors who are most at risk for developing virus complications.”
Free automatic speech recognition (ASR) captioning for people with hearing loss on video conference platforms like Zoom and Google “could make all the difference”.
An Open Letter To Zoom, Google & Microsoft
Dear Zoom, Google, Microsoft and other video conferencing providers,
Please make free ASR captions available on your platforms for people with hearing loss immediately. In most cases, the technology exists and is integrated into your platform behind a paywall. Providing this service for free for people with hearing loss would not only improve the accessibility of your product, it is also the right thing to do.
Communicating by video call has become the new reality in our COVID-19 world. Video calls are helpful for people with hearing loss because we can see the other person’s face, which helps with lipreading. But in meetings with many participants, or even in one on one conversations with people using weak microphones or laggy internet connections, video is not enough for understanding. Captioning is necessary.