Astronomy for the hearing impaired

Apr 24

Written by:
4/24/2012 12:40 PM  RssIcon

So yesterday I got a comment on the "Eyes on the Sky: April 23 thru April 29" weekly video.  It was a nice one.  In fact, it was a surprisingly nice one.  But there was a twist.  Here's the relevant portion:

"I am a mere novice at star gazing, but your vidoes are inspiring and informative, and above all, for me because I am deaf, they are beautifully audible! "

I should point out that when I changed from a monthly to weekly format, I had also upgraded the video editing software I was using.  So I was able to do some additional things that I couldn't do before, like leave "me" in the video visually (not just audibly), talking and explaining about the things that were shown in the graphics over my shoulder, as opposed to a voice-over as I'd done before.  The feedback I had received about that change had been entirely positive, so I figured, "Well, if people want to see me while I'm talking about astronomy... okay."  In some ways, I felt a little uncomfortable, because I didn't want the videos to be about me.

But the comment yesterday changed that.  I realized, "Hey, some people NEED to see my lips moving in order to 'hear' what I am saying."  After doing a little searching on the subject, I found that Noreen Grice has made some fantastic books and is working to make astronomy facilities more accessible to those with various physical impairments.  And when I stop and think about my own family even (I have an aunt and cousin with some hearing impairments - though I've not seen them for years due to distance), it does make sense to do what we can to include others who are often left out of certain aspects of astronomy due to impairments that are likely no fault of their own.  

So if I can offer a way to make astronomy more accessible via my videos for the hearing impaired community, I am happy to do that.  I'm just glad that my serendipitous decision to put my face "on screen" - plus the fact that others liked that idea too - wound up being a helpful way to present astronomy to a group of people who might otherwise might not "hear" about astronomy the way the rest of us can and do.  

I will be mindful of that as I edit my future videos.

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.