Hearing Loss Projects

  • Mr VIDEO Project
  • Accessible Environments and Services: Communication

Mr VIDEO Project

This project was really born out of frustration and a need for practical change.  As a parent of a child born with a profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, I grew angry at seeing the frustration and disappointment my child had to endure when we went to hire DVD’s at our local Mr VIDEO (beachfront area in Tableview) each Friday afternoon.   This had become a family ritual for us, DVD’s and pizza on a Friday evening to unwind after a stressful and hectic seven days.  But week, after week, I watched Jody get really excited about watching a particular movie when she recognised the front cover of the DVD, (usually a newly available DVD at the Mr VIDEO store), and also usually a movie she had already watched at Ster Kinekor, Bayside but had not been able to follow completely due to hear hearing loss and there not being subtitles available at mainstream cinema’s – only to be completed disappointed when she would turn the DVD cover
around to see that nosubtitles were available.  It was heartbreaking to watch her sift through the DVD’s, turning each one around to check for subtitles, only to discover that none were available.  Besides the fact that subtitles are indicated in varying ways on the back of DVD’s and it is often difficult to “spot”, I also failed to understand why so few DVD’s were available with subtitles in our DVD rental stores.  These two issues (lack of choice & subtitle info only on back of DVD – in varying formats) led me to approach Mr VIDEO.  As a member of Hear2Day, I wrote a proposal to the management of Mr VIDEO, outlining the difficulties and proposing a solution i.e. small stickers to be available on the front of DVD’s offering subtitles and a poster adverting both Hear2Day (as a support group for persons with a hearing loss) and advertising the stickers to the public so that persons with a hearing loss would understand the purpose of the stickers.  The franchise owner of Mr VIDEO responded very quickly and positively and put me in touch with their national Marketing Manager, Felicity du Preez, who was already sensitized and aware of the needs of persons with hearing loss and the difficulties they experience.  She was incredibly positive about the project and worked hard to ensure its success.  Once I had the go-ahead from Mr VIDEO, I needed to find sponsors for both the stickers (for the DVD
covers) as well as the posters.  Again I wrote a proposal, appealing to printing companies, in terms of their Corporate Social Responsibilities, and very quickly, I had a positive response from RSA Litho for the printing of the posters and RotoLabel for the printing of the stickers.  After collecting the printed posters and stickers, I met with Felicity to hand-deliver them and then she liaised with the Franchisees to handle the logistics of the distribution.  After the successful roll-out of the project, it was wonderful to go into our local Mr VIDEO store and watch Jody’s face light up as she could quickly choose from the DVD’s with the green labels indicating “Subtitles Available”.  The challenge now is for the sustainability of the project in terms of the printing costs or to find sponsors.  

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