​Background information on

The vast majority of people with hearing loss do not have hearing aids and find it challenging to hear and understand in live theatrical performances, places of worship, lectures or other places of assembly. Even with hearing aids and a public address system, people with hearing loss will find that sound becomes unclear when loudspeakers are distant, when the context is noisy, or in rooms that reverberate sound.

The reasons for this include the speech to noise ratio, improperly adjusted loudspeakers, and a number of other reasons that even include  the aural processing ability of the brain. Assistive Listening Systems (ALSs) provide a vehicle that allows people access to sound in a setting where they would otherwise not have such access. 

 For a detailed explanation of this problem, click here.

Click on the symbol to the right of the logo below
for information on ALSs from that source.
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  Background information on
 CART or Captions

Captions are speech to text technology with many applications.  They come in two forms, open or closed captions – closed captioning (CC) can be turned off by the viewer with the click of a button, while open captions are embedded into the video or presentation and cannot be turned off by a viewer. They may include written descriptions of background noises, speaker differentiation, and other relevant information, making content more accessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

CART - Real-time captioning

Real-time captions, also known as live captions or Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), are open captions and they can provide access in many settings. Real time captioning is considered a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are provided by trained and certified professionals who are usually called simply "captioners".  A captioner uses stenography to turn spoken words into print. The captions may appear on a laptop or a tablet supplied by venue or entity. They may be seen on a special receiver loaned by the venue or on a personal smart phone with a captioning app.  They can also be projected onto a screen or large screen monitor or TV for groups or large audiences to read. The font size and color can be changed to meet a person's specific needs. Captioners can work on site or remotely. 

Automatic captions 

Real-time captions and Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR or automatic captions) are NOT the same. Automatic captions may not meet an entity’s legal obligation to provide access. The person(s) requesting captions should be asked what meets their needs in regard to captions and follow their request. 

Many entities have obligations under civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination and require the provision of accommodations such as captioning, to ensure equal access, an equal opportunity to participate, and effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  
When someone asks a business or event for captioning, it is that business or event's legal responsibility to arrange and pay for captioning services or some other reasonable accommodation in their place.

 For a detailed explanation of this requirement, click here.

Click on the symbol to the right of the logo below
for information on captions from that source.