COVID-19 has made communication difficult for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Our windowmasks are low-tech answers that can help people who read lips or use sign language communicate in some settings. But advances with sophisticated technology solutions have also helped remove communication obstacles.

About 266,000 Greater Cincinnatians have hearing loss based on National Institute of Health data citing its prevalence in 13% of the US population, with Ohio’s Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities numbering 54,000 deaf and hard of hearing people in that number.

Tremendous advances in speech-to-text applications have taken place in the last fifteen months with the sudden reliance on tele-meetings that began in March 2020. Do closed captions improve your understanding of videos? This video can help you enable closed captions or subtitles on YouTube, your iPhone, Android phone, or computer.

Real-time captioning is a benefit to many hard-of-hearing adults. In September 2020, Facebook published a 1,000-word blog post [here] about artificial intelligence advances since the onset of the pandemic. Google and Zoom have similar AI teams making advances to remove obstacles to communication.