For many of us new to the experience of hearing loss, and for some of us who have been living with degraded hearing for some time now, going without luxuries we used to enjoy so much in the past seems to become commonplace. Thanks to remarkable improvements in accessibility options, however, we don’t need to go without all the time.
One particular past time that most people enjoy is attending the live theatre or catching a movie at the local cinema. But, for those living with hearing loss, understanding the dialogue running over what often can be a very boisterous soundtrack, can be an incredibly difficult task.
While going out to enjoy dinner and a movie with friends or family may be an obstacle for those of us with hearing loss, many devices and technologies are now available to make our theatre-going experience as enjoyable as it would be for our full hearing friends.
Most large chain movie theatres make closed captioning devices available for all movie showings. All you need to do is stop by the ticket desk on the way in to request a device. Once you’ve sat down, just hook up your device, and test it out. Most of these CC devices hook onto the cupholder and can be adjusted to sit at the location that best suits your movie enjoyment. Previews are close captioned too, so you can get the device just right in time for the main feature.
You won’t need to worry about ruining any other person’s movie-going experience since these devices have privacy blinders around the OLED display screens. As an alternative to CC devices, some theatres offer glasses that when worn, display the closed captioning across the glass lenses.
For live theatre, the process works a bit differently. Some theatres offer specific performances with CC screens off to the side or in another predetermined location. Just contact your theatre of interest to see if and when they offer these kinds of performances.
Often theatrical performances come equipped with infrared headsets you can use to aid in your hearing and enjoyment of the performance. Or, if you have a hearing aid that’s telecoil enabled, you can hook directly into the system. If you don’t have a telecoil enabled hearing aid, you can use one of the headsets provided by the theatre, but you may need to remove your hearing aid first.
Another popular option worth considering is using a CC app called GalaPro. As long as you’re viewing a Broadway performance that’s been running for at least four weeks, you can find a CC rendition on the app. It is not real time, but the syncing is pretty high quality.
Whether you’re worried about the movies, the theatre, or any other social experience, don’t assume you won’t be able to enjoy the same past times you once did. Accessibility options are becoming more and more prominent in a large variety of venues. All you need is a little research and a wee bit of resourcefulness.