Hearing loss disconnects people from life, affecting them physically, emotionally, behaviorally, work-wise, and socially. It’s also one of the most overlooked and invisible disabilities. “Disability” and “accessibility” tend to refer to ramps and wide spaces for wheelchairs. But enabling “effective communication” for the deaf is never considered by public venues and events, especially at concerts and music festivals.
Mexico City hosts +35 events everyday. Still, this disability has the least accessibility within the entertainment industry for the +2 million Deaf or Hard of Hearing people (DHoH) in Mexico.
Corona is the bestselling Mexican beer worldwide. It’s a global brand but still remains inclusive and democratic, in line with some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals seek to eradicate in order to build more inclusive, accessible, equal, and healthy communities.
FEELSTREAM by Corona mainly targets the DHoH, who have lived excluded from these experiences and dreamt to be able to enjoy live music, as well as the people surrounding them who are also indirectly affected by hearing disabilities. At the same time, the goal of FEELSTREAM by Corona is to make deafness as visible as other physical disabilities and influence public policy and decision makers on the importance of enabling more industries for the DHoH.
Together with Subpac and NGO Silencio AC, we enabled portable backpack-like devices responsive to sound, to translate low-pitched frequencies into vibrations, literally turning the human body into a sound wave transmitter.
FEELSTREAM by Corona now enables the biggest music festivals in Mexico so DHoH people can “hear” music by feeling it.
A designated area on site is set up with sound equipment, engineers, audiologists, and Mexican Sign Language (MSL) interpreters signing music in real-time for ideological background. During the launch in Corona Capital 2018, guests also enjoyed meet-&-greets with MGMT & Bastille, who “felt” their songs for the first time.
With the support of Facebook, they also turned the festival’s live transmission into the first live streaming enabled for the DHoH in the world, as they invited part of the deaf community in Guadalajara to enjoy the show in an equipped room with screens, backpacks and two interpreters.
The initiative is now active at every major music festival and venue in Mexico, and staff is being trained in MSL. This has set the bar for the industry to become inclusive for the DHoH and other disabilities, and has also started to influence public policy with the federal government, shedding light on the need for stricter evaluation systems that ensure inclusivity regulations and treaties are complied with. The DHoH community, through Silencio AC, has also directly reached out to testify how FEELSTREAM by Corona changed their lives.