Advocating for Change: Strength in Numbers

old fashioned balance deviceAdvocating for Change: Strength in Numbers — Jim O’Donnell

I hope this blog will start a conversation among us – people with hearing loss – about incidents and experiences we have on a day-to-day basis which violate our basic right to accommodation. And then let’s  see if we can use this collective experience to improve our daily lives.

Now, these incidents of “failure to communicate” aren’t necessarily worth pursuing legal recourse…say, for example, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but with enough incidents, we can bring issues to the appropriate parties and advocate effectively for changes.

An example of such an incident was told to me by an HLAA member, who shared with me a time when she got on the T Green line subway heading to Government Center for school.  She was reading her book when the  train stopped at Park Street, and everyone emptied out except for her. She waited, and then the conductor came back and said it was the end of the line for this train; (she read lips). She pointed out that the visual sign said Government Center.  The conductor said that an announcement had been made over the PA.  She was furious as she left the station to walk the rest of the way.

Has this happened to you?  It has to me.  The airport ? A change in planes or timing and it’s all given verbally on the public address system. Have you ever been able to understand the pilot or attendant when they make announcements?  I am sure you have your own experiences, and that’s what we need to write about in this blog.  Tell us your specific experiences.

Back to the T.  If we cite a number of specific instances and advocate for  LED captions to be used to notify all passengers of changes in route, time, delay, etc., then we may very well affect a change.  Or we can file a complaint with the Federal Civil Rights office or Attorney General’s office.  The T may actually pay attention and make a change.  Worth a try, don’t you think?  I look forward to your comments!

Email me at!