Enjoying Celebrations – How to manage weddings, funerals, and everything in between! | by Cat Broadhead

My father passed away recently, and we held a celebration of life for him. I have only been deaf for six years, and I was not sure how to navigate the ceremony with my hearing loss. So, I reached out to my deaf friends, who came to the rescue with resources! I used CART captioning at my father’s service and a speech-to-text app for communicate with guests at the lunch. It was not perfect, but we made it work.

Here are some tips for enjoying celebrations.

  • Get an interpreter.
    • If you are good at sign language, getting an interpreter is your
      best bet.
    • Find an interpreter here: https://rid.org/
  • Utilize CART.
    • CART stands for “Communication Access Realtime Translation.” Basically, a CART transcriber will type up what the speaker is saying in real-time.
    • To improve accuracy, give the CART transcriber names, readings, and speeches ahead of time.
    • You can search for CART services here:
      https://www.ncra.org/home
  • Utilize a speech-to-text app.
    • My favorite speech-to-text app is Google Live Transcribe. It is only available on Android, but it is the most accurate.
    • On iPhone, adjust your settings to get live transcriptions. Or use the Ava app. It allows you to connect with multiple people through their phones.
  • Use a notebook or white board.
    • Speech-to-text apps do not work well when there is a lot of noise. Carry a notebook or a white board to write quick messages. I like the erasable “Boogie Board” for this purpose. You can find them on Amazon.

You may find resources through your local hearing loss organizations or centers for independent living. Take advantage of services so you can fully enjoy your events.