140 Euclid Ave.
Hackensack, NJ 07601
I welcome this opportunity to respond to the US Access Board's request for comments. Cruising is a wonderful way to travel for everyone, but especially for Senior Citizens as I am. Unfortunately, current deficiencies impact greatly on my enjoyment and potential safety..
As a person who both uses a wheelchair and has a profound hearing loss, I have found that my mobility needs are met in a far more efficient manner than are my hearing needs. Without a hearing companion, I would often not understand what is happening. Not only is this frustrating and inconvenient, but it also can be extremely dangerous.
Hearing loss is an invisible disability, and sadly overlooked and under-estimated by the hearing society. Since hearing loss directly impacts on one's ability to communicate with others, it actually has a greater impact on my life than use of a wheelchair.
I support totally the comments of the Hearing Access Board. The provision of well-maintained assistive listening devices in key areas of the ship is essential; also the availability of CART. TTY's are imperative both in the stateroom and at reception desk, also captioned TV and movies. Visual/tactile alerts for fire, door-knock, and phone are also essential in staterooms. In addition, the crew responsible for these staterooms should be sensitized for the needs of hearing impaired passengers...i.e. communication difficulties.
Cruising offers so many assets but cannot be fully appreciated by passengers with hearing loss until true hearing access is offered.
Thank you for caring.
Co-chair, Hearing Loss Assn. of Bergen Co.
Member, Advisory Board, Bergen Co. Division of Disability Services Freelance Writer on Disability Issues