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Movie Theaters

Matthew S. Staben mstaben at umich.edu
Mon Jul 10 10:30:08 EST 1995

droberts at inseine.ifmt.nf.ca (Dion Roberts) wrote:

>Hi.  I have a moderately severe hearing disability.  My loss is sensory
>neural therefore my biggest problem lies in understanding speech as opposed
>to hearing it.  I have a tv with closed captioning built in and it works 
>great for me.  I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any type of development,
>where hearing loss is concerned, for movie theaters.  I love the theater 
>atmosphere but I seldom go because I have much difficulty understanding the
>dialog.  I tried the headphone set some theaters provide and it is a piece of

>Any suggestions?

You're pretty much screwed.  Do not despair, however, as there are
several solutions in the works.  One such is available the IMAX
theater in Washington DC and has a selective captioning system.  This
system works by providing some means to deaf persons so they can see
captioning on the big screen, while leaving it invisible to others.  I
cannot recall whether it is done through special glasses or a device
attached to the seat; but I believe it is the former (as looking down
to read is ridiculous).  Regardless, I understand it was a technical

Additionally, this technology mentioned is fairly recent (within the
last year), and it is highly improbable that the technology will
propagate to general admission theaters; but will be found in select
theaters in cities which host a larger deaf/hard-of-hearing
population.  Other solutions abound.  For example, Washington DC's
deaf put on a movie (usually after its main run at the box-office, but
prior to its availability on videotape) every so often which is
specially captioned (with white/transparent letters with no
background) and played in DC's Union Station movie theater for
admission costs.

That's about all, so far.  Meanwhile the rest of us resort to
videotapes one or two years later than the box-office showing.


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