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Health Literacy: Deaf Community

This guides defines health literacy and offers ways that health care professionals can assist patients with low health literacy.

Deaf Community

Deaf (capitalized): refers to the community and culture of deaf people. Many share the language of American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is a complete, grammatically complex language. It is not a direct translation of English. Sign languages differ across regions and countries. 

deaf (lowercase): refers to the condition of not hearing.

Hard of hearing: refers to mild to moderate hearing loss. 

How people “label” or identify themselves is personal and may reflect identification with the deaf and hard of hearing community, the degree to which they can hear, or the relative age of onset. 

Tips for Recording Videos for the Deaf Community

  • Speak clearly and at a normal pace.
  • Do not yell or over-enunciate.
  • Look directly at the camera when possible.
  • Do not cover your mouth when speaking.
  • Avoid standing in front of a light source, which can make it difficult to see your face clearly. 

Captions to Improve Accessibility for the Deaf Community

Captions are a text version of the speech and non-speech audio information needed to understand the content. They are displayed within the media player and are synchronized with the audio.

Captions should be:

  • Accurate: Captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue and convey essential sounds to the fullest extent possible. 
    • Do not change, clarify, or add to the audio. 
    • Essential non-verbal sounds, such as coughing or sneezing to convey sickness, should be added in square brackets. [coughing]
  • Synchronous: Captions must coincide with their corresponding spoken words and sounds to the greatest extent possible and must be displayed on the screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.
  • Properly placed: Captions should not block other important visual content on the screen, overlap one another, or run off the edge of the video screen.