Deaf Moviegoers See Potential in Glasses with Captioning

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Many people go to the movies for the special effects and dialogue.

But what if you were deaf? Regal Entertainment Group has introduced glasses developed by Sony for the deaf and hearing impaired with closed captioning at the bottom that sync to the sound of the movie you’re watching.

Lois Diamond and Linda Cook are two of 38 million deaf or hearing impaired Americans.

Lois likes the glasses, she says any new technology is wonderful.

Regal theaters purchased them for about six thousand theaters nationwide, including Sacramento.

Lois said before visual aids like it, she wouldn’t go to the movies much.

Regal invested more than $10 million dollars into the glasses. Each one is about $1,750. They’re free for customers though.

Lois thinks Regal’s glasses are a step forward, but not perfect.

She says she noticed the captions appeared at the top of the screens, and didn’t like that.

Linda agrees the glasses are far from perfect. She says you have to learn how to use them, because if you move your head, they go all over the place.

But she says they work, which means more movies for her and more money for theaters like Regal.

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  • derekbrandon

    A 'personal' cinema caption solution would be very useful for people with hearing loss in the UK. Although most cinemas now have facilities to screen the latest films with English-language subtitles & audio description for people with hearing or sight loss, there are only around 1,000 subtitled shows every week around the UK. That may sound a lot but it’s only around 1% of cinema shows. In the UK, subtitles are on the cinema screen, for all to see, so require separate screenings – inconvenient for cinemas as well as audiences.

    These solutions would increase the choice of subtitled films and shows tenfold, which people with hearing loss would very much appreciate. Take a look at this page of feedback from the cinema-going public:

    In fact a multi-language/caption/narration solution would enable under-served, untapped audiences world-wide to enjoy the cinema experience. Not only people with hearing or sight loss, but also people whose first language is not the local language.

    The content is ready – film distributors already ensure that most popular cinema releases are routinely captioned, audio described and subtitled in many languages. Large-capacity movie hard drives can easily accommodate a digital film and multi-language text/audio tracks.

    With ageing, loss of some hearing or sight is inevitable. Access to film via captions/subtitles and audio description/narration is something that we may all appreciate eventually.

    Derek Brandon

  • LCarterLong

    Great piece. Appreciate you covering the issue. It's a shame the online video isn't captioned as well. Would love for my deaf and hard-of-hearing friends to be able to enjoy and share as well. Please caption all online videos in the future. Thank you. All best!

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