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NO EXCUSE

The podcast industry is failing the deaf and hard of hearing community

A woman sits alone on a bench while using her mobile phone as the sun sets at a beach.
Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Disability advocates are fighting to make podcasts more accessible to the hard of hearing.

Podcasts are quickly becoming a major part of the American media diet, with more than 100 million people listening to them regularly.

But a large group of content consumers is being left out. At least 37 million adults in the US have trouble hearing, and that’s not counting people who might struggle to understand audio content because they’re not native English speakers.

Kahlimah Jones, a frustrated deaf consumer, sued podcast network Gimlet Media earlier this year, arguing the company’s website is equivalent to a restaurant or a pharmacy, and should therefore provide accommodations to people with disabilities under the American with Disabilities Act or the ADA.

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