Cory Schaeffer shares her thoughts on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and why awareness of it is not only necessary, but it can also be hugely beneficial.
I recently gave a presentation to the Certified Access Specialist Institute in California (CASI). As one of the co-founders of Listen Technologies and a passionate advocate for Assistive Listening, I saw this as a great opportunity to share my thoughts on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and why awareness of it is not only necessary, but it can also be hugely beneficial.
The original ADA of 1990 ensured that disabled individuals were given equal rights to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, telecommunications, and other services. It was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Revisions were made to Title II and Title III in 2010, which took effect on March 15, 2012 to match the 2003 International Building Code (IBC).
The ADA is not meant to limit anyone or anything. It helps people and it helps businesses. Let’s look at some facts about hearing loss:
- One in five Americans has some degree of hearing loss.
- Hearing loss is the third most common health condition for people over 65.
- Due to their lifestyle choices, hearing loss is on the rise among young people.
When these facts are taken into consideration, it is obvious that increasing awareness about the ADA, and particularly Assistive Listening Systems, is more necessary than ever. I have personally been in many situations where someone has told me that they do not understand why they have to be ADA compliant.
Here is what happens when you do the right thing:
- More people visit your business! If you provide patrons with a positive experience, not only will they visit again, but they’ll return with their family members and their friends, which gives you an exponential return on your investment.
- You might get a tax benefit. By complying with the ADA, some businesses may be able to receive certain tax benefits. Visit www.irs.gov and see Form 8826 for more information.
- We erase the stigmas! There are a lot of stereotypes and stigmas associated with hearing loss. When we build more awareness about hearing loss, Assistive Listening, and ADA compliance, we erase these stigmas.
It continues to shock me that so many people do not realize what an opportunity they have to improve and enrich people’s lives by providing better sound, and therefore better experiences, in public spaces. To put things simply: it’s the right thing to do. I would like to thank CASI for allowing me to share my passion on this topic; it was a wonderful experience!