Caption TV ads to win over deaf voters


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Apr 18, 2004
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Caption TV ads to win over deaf voters | | Democrat and Chronicle

It is well-known that Rochester is home to one of the country's largest per-capita populations of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. This is partly due to the fact that Monroe County is the home of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, the Rochester School for the Deaf and many organizations of and for the deaf.

There is also a large and very active chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America here in Rochester.

Any candidate who is running for office this year should be aware of this country's diverse population. However, most of the area candidates have failed to provide captioning for their TV commercials. Deaf viewers are unable to understand a word of a commercial that lacks captions: the candidate's message is totally lost.

A political commercial without captions sends the message that deaf and hard-of-hearing voters are not important enough for the candidate to spend the extra time and effort to caption the commercial. This is an insult. This election is expected to be very close in several areas. So, I do not understand how politicians can throw away the votes of the adults among the estimated 90,000 deaf or hard-of-hearing people in the Rochester area.

However, I do want to give credit to those candidates who do caption their commercials.

But it is not only political candidates who fail to caption their commercials; most local businesses also fail to do so. As a result, deaf and hard-of-hearing people do not understand what they are selling, what special deals they are offering or anything else they are saying. I guess that business is so good, they do not need 90,000 more customers, and, like many of the candidates, can afford to ignore us. If I saw a company's commercial on TV that was captioned, that business would get my business instead of a company that did not caption its advertisements.