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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CDC, It's as Easy as 1,2,3

Two weeks ago the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced the results of a new study on the prevalence of disability and disability type among American adults.  Survey questions asked about disability in regards to vision, cognition, mobility, self-care, and independent living. An asterisk at the bottom of the report explained that questions about deafness and difficulty hearing were not included.

Why didn't they ask about hearing loss as a disability? This study was conducted through random-digit-dialed calls to landlines and cell phones and apparently there was a misconception that people who are deaf and hard of hearing are unable to respond to telephone surveys.

Ever since the CDC announced the study, the Hearing Loss Association of America and the Hearing Health Foundation and others have raised a ruckus. As a result, the CDC is asking how to reach out to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This is my response: You can call us. Here are three ways we are using the telephone these days:

1. Amplified phones
2. Captioned phones
3. Video relay phones

We may not be able to hear the phone ring, but nowadays, phones can also vibrate and flash. Some people even use service animals to alert them to a phone call. CDC, don't exclude the deaf and hard of hearing from your next survey. There's no excuse when it's as easy as 1,2,3.


CCACaptioning said...

Good blogpost! Here's the CCAC message to the CDC - we also contacted them as soon as the study was published. And again three days ago with their form online:
Dear CDC,
This is our second message to you concerning the omission of 48 million Americans with hearing loss and deafness who were ignored, not mentioned at all, and excluded from your recent report about people with disabilities.

Please reply to explain your apparent mistake. A new survey is indicated. Yes, we communicate, by captioned and even "ordinary" landline and mobile phones used by many, by email, the Internet, in and among our many valued associations, social media, and more. How about a CDC video with quality captioning asap to invite us to respond also?
Lauren E. Storck, President of, official non-profit, all volunteer citizen advocates for access and inclusion. "Don't Leave Me Out" is one piece of our educational efforts, see
- - the place to be for captioning advocacy, all welcome!

Sarah Wegley said...

Thank you, Lauren for sharing the CCAC message as well.

Sarah Wegley said...

To all,
I hope this can be a teachable moment. Even with available technology and resources, situations like this are why hearing loss continues to be a disability.