Going to the Movies! Closed Captioned Glasses for the Deaf Finally – the soft seats, the popcorn, the drinks, the BIG screen, and the captivating atmosphere of the movie theater can be enjoyed by the hard of hearing! Is it bothering regular customers with subtitles on the big screen? No. Is it a glowing personal screen with subtitles bothering everyone next to/behind you? No. Is it some kind of expensive, fancy personal equipment that will double the cost of your movie-going experience? No –but on the right track.
Closed Captioned Glasses Regal Cinemas and Sony have come out with awesome closed captioned glasses that project subtitles (and sound descriptions) so that only the person wearing the glasses can see them. The subtitles show up as green text, on a slightly darkened backdrop. The projections are adjustable in distance and brightness, so you can get the look you want. Looking just a half-a-notch more conspicuous than people wearing 3D glasses, these glasses (although a tiny bit heavy) can be used at any movie in any theater – including IMAX and 3D.
Why the Big Deal? Sure, it’s cool that deaf or hard-of-hearing people can now go to the movies – but the benefits of these glasses extend to all. First of all – as mentioned before, the deaf can enjoy the full movie-theater experience. At the theater – everything shuts off and the only thing notable is the film. At home, there are distractions like phones, doorbells, family members or roommates, and familiar surroundings. Second – family members and friends of deaf or hard-of-hearing people can enjoy going to the movies together. On top of being at the theater together, deaf family/friends can immediately participate in conversations about how cool the effects were, how touching the story was, or other reactions to the movie. Normally, deaf people have to wait for the movie to come out on DVD to watch it with subtitles. By that time, no one is talking about the movie anymore, and more likely than not, the ending will be spoiled. By cutting out the viewing delay, deaf and hard-of-hearing people can enjoy the full social aspect of the movie experience. Finally – theaters benefit as well. Even though it costs almost $2000 for a theater to purchase the receiver and transmitter to make the glasses work (and customers don’t have to pay extra for the
glasses) the number of tickets sold to the deaf will increase incredibly. The system will pay for itself in a matter of weeks (if that). According to the Times, only 34% of the hearing impaired attended movies at least once in the previous year. And when you consider that 38 million people in America are hearing-impaired, if the remaining 56% attend the movies just once with these new glasses, that translates to over 21 million tickets! Times that by the $10-ish that each ticket costs on average, and we are talking some serious money.
A Bright Future The future is looking very bright for the hearing impaired: caption calling, captioned movies, hearing aid improvements, etc. Try out one of these new glasses today and enjoy the movie experience everyone is talking about!