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SWC Online Voices

September 2009

Deaf411 releases "Deaf-Friendly Cities in the U.S. report

NEW YORK CITY (Deaf411) – 17 August, 2009 – Deaf411, a deaf marketing and public relations company, has released the final report and results of a year-long survey on which cities are considered “deaf friendly.” The final report, which lists 20 U.S. cities, was released today and is now available for public viewing.

This “Deaf Friendly Cities” report includes a narrative of a selected city from each of four U.S. regions, lists several community resources, and photos representing a variety of situations that are considered “deaf friendly” to deaf consumers or travelers.

"While research for this report should not be considered scientific," a Deaf411 representative explains, "this sampling of consumers with significant hearing loss who depend primarily on sign language provides solid criteria for evaluating cities for accessibility from a deaf friendly perspective."

“Research also indicated that while cities are complying with the provisions of federal and state laws that require accessibility, finding information on how to make their services and facilities accessible to deaf people remains problematic,” Deaf411 representatives say, “Most of the information that is currently available tends to focus on modifying or creating facilities to be physically accessible. Whereas, accommodations needed by deaf people are based on providing visual means of accessibility and the availability of these visual accommodation needs are often sparse in most cities.”

This report was based on compilation of data through a publicity campaign and launch of a mini website with an online survey targeted at deaf consumers who use sign language. Over 3,700 people from all 50 states and territories completed the intensive survey. Based on the responses during this one-year project, Deaf411 selected five cities in each of four regions and continued research.

Through use of diagrams in the report, a unique perspective is provided with a comparison of the ethnic populations and people with disabilities within the U.S. population. For example, the population of Americans with hearing loss, when compared to other minority groups, is smaller than the African American population but is larger than the Asian population.

The term "hearing loss" is broad and applies to people with varying degrees and onset of hearing loss ranging from born deaf to late deafened senior citizens. There are 37,215,000 Americans with hearing loss according a 2006 National Health Interview Survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Deaf411 representatives cite several reasons for launching this project: Providing deaf consumers with criteria and other considerations when exploring or seeking an U.S. city to consider relocating or visiting; equip businesses and agencies with increased awareness on the needs of deaf consumers or employees; and increase exposure and sensitivity among the mainstream society.

The “Deaf-Friendly Cities in the U.S.” online report, which is available at no charge, can be viewed at http://www.deaf411online.com/deaffriendly.

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