People with hearing loss need to know what is happening in public spaces. They want to understand television programming or messages shared on screens. As paying guests, all patrons should be able to experience a game’s live-action or understand screen alerts.
Closed captioning is an often overlooked part of accessibility. But it’s not just about understanding what people are saying. Captions can also provide important information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, such as emergency alerts and warnings. Children and people with learning disabilities can also benefit from captions. In public spaces where TVs provide entertainment or convey important messages, closed captioning is crucial to feeling welcome.
A new city ordinance, which costs nothing for business owners, ensures that those who cannot hear are not excluded from participation in bars and restaurants, community events, and even waiting rooms.
At Deaf Services Center (DSC), we are pleased to see the City of Toledo continues to improve access for all of those with hearing loss within the City of Toledo. The Interim Executive Director Shannon Seger, who is deaf, has shared a story of a person who wanted to enjoy a good dinner during Super Bowl Sunday at a local tavern. The individual asked an employee to turn on the closed captioning so that they could enjoy dinner and the Super Bowl at the same time. The employee blatantly refused after several pleading attempts, denying the patron a simple and free reasonable accommodation.
With the individual’s permission, Shannon shared the story via social media, and it quickly reached City Council Representative Theresa Gaddux’s attention. DSC recommended that the City of Toledo pass a closed captioning law to ensure that Toledo continues to improve accessibility and show more proof of Toledo being a disability-friendly town. The Toledo Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members look forward to having fewer barriers and are grateful the City of Toledo fully supported this ordinance.
Toledo welcomes diversity and strives to ensure equal access to our community. The Ability Center applauds City Council for passing this ordinance and making this issue a priority.
Effective Date: December 2022
Partner Agency: The Deaf Services Center of Northwest Ohio
Toledo City Council Support: Theresa Gaddeus, Nick Komives