The Issue: Audio-only content excludes the deaf, the hard-of-hearing, people whose equipment does not have sound capabilities, people in loud environments, and people who have cognitive difficulties that make the processing of auditory information difficult.
Information will not be conveyed by single audio (audio clip sounds to provide instructions, warnings or other information) alone.
Comments: According to Vital & Health Statistics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1994, over 28 million Americans are considered deaf or heaing disabled. Fifteen of every 1,000 people under age 18 have some type of hearing impairment; four hundred fifteen of every 1,000 people over 75 have some type of hearing impairment. Our population is aging. We can expect this ratio to stay the same (41%) as the number of people over the age of 75 — a larger percentage of whom will be using our web sites than do currently as use proficiency in the use of technology proliferates.
The way to circumvent excluding this substantial population is to provide an alternative to an audio presentation, such as a text transcript of the discussion. A link to the text transcript should be available in the same location as the link to the audio presentation.