Subscribe to Newsletter
Tell a Friend
Print this Page
Feature: Activist/Author Arlene Romoff Changes the Captioning World
As a teenager, Arlene Romoff began to progressively lose her hearing. It became a profound loss several years later. In 1997, she received her first cochlear implant and a second one in 2008. The author of two memoirs, Hear Again: Back to Life with a Cochlear Implant and Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing, Romoff has been a passionate activist for captioning. Her work has included advocacy for captions at live theaters, movie theaters, and on the Internet, among other venues. She co-founded the Hearing Loss Association of New Jersey, where she served as president.
Here, in Romoff’s own words, is how she brought captioning into the international spotlight.
At an arts access meeting in New York City, sponsored by Hospital Audiences Inc, I asked to demo CART captioning, using an LED screen – pointing out to the theater people at the meeting how it could easily be used for live theater performances. That was 1994. I wrote about it in a New Jersey Arts Council newsletter that year – and continued to pursue this captioning advocacy.
In 1996, we had the first successful open captioned live theater performance in New Jersey – and on Broadway in 1997. And it’s been growing ever since.
I sense that people are so desperate for captioning in the movies that there’s a rush to install without enough information about the pros and cons of the devices. I also see the term “preferences” used when the reality is that some people are unable to use some of the technologies being promoted – which is not a “preference.” Relying on facts and information is essential to effective advocacy, and that is missing right now in movie captioning advocacy.
Advocacy: From New Jersey to London
Now, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is heavily involved in advocacy – and so is our HLA-NJ state association, where I just ended a five-year tenure as President. I also serve on the NJ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Council, and collaborate with them and other state agencies for captioning and other access needs. This resulted in getting CART captioning provided at state-run public events, and brought increased awareness about hearing loss where it otherwise would have been invisibly ignored.
I’ve also collaborated with the Theater Resource Unlimited (TRU), an organization of NYC theater producers, to spread the word to the theater community about the need for captioning. Online, I’ve joined with CCAC to provide input and support for captioning advocacy initiatives. Being connected by social media and internet forums is also very helpful in providing networking opportunities.
How You Can Change the Captioning World
Advocacy for captioning is ongoing, with opportunities always presenting themselves. When writing the bio for my book, Listening Closely, I made sure to mention my captioned theater advocacy, so that people would be aware that captioning of live theater exists and is possible, even if they didn’t get to read about it in my book. I’ve discovered that in advocacy, it all counts.
I’ve quoted from my book when doing presentations on hearing loss advocacy, “If the world doesn’t provide you with what you need, then you change the world.”
To learn more about Romoff’s advocacy and books, visit ArleneRomoff.comback
• EMPORIA TELECOM ANNOUNCES IT WILL PROVIDE SPECIALTY PHONES FOR FIRST MOBILE PHONE SERVICE IN US DESIGNED FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED
• UK: Brighton University Students Design Website for People with Hearing Disabilities
• ITU and the Internet Governance Forum 2007
• CVHI 2009 - Conference anf Workshop on Assistive Technologies for People with Vision and Hearing Impairments, Wroclaw, Poland
No records were found.
Post new comment:
Only register users can add comments please Log-in