Hearing Accessibility for Movie and Home Theatres

Have you been meaning to catch the newest film at your local theater but weary of how your hearing loss may affect your experience? You’re not alone and for many others just like you, enjoying movies on the big screen can be a little difficult without the right tools and resources. Luckily, there are many solutions available like closed captioning, assistive hearing devices, sound bars for amplification, and Bluetooth™ hearing aids that can help make both your movie and television experience a whole lot better. 

Movie theater captions and more  

By law, movie theaters must provide closed captioning and assistive hearing devices for anyone that needs it. Title III of the ADA states, “Public accommodations that own, lease, or operate movie theaters have an existing obligation to provide effective communication to persons with disabilities through the use of auxiliary aids and services.” Today, nearly all movie theaters in the United States must meet these requirements. Now, you can confidently go to the movies without having to worry about how your hearing loss will affect your experience.  

Not only does Title III of the ADA offer a way for people with hearing loss to watch movies with ease but it also gives the hard-of-hearing community the opportunity to enjoy movies at most public theaters – free of exclusion and discrimination. Now that’s something to celebrate! Don’t let your hearing loss hold you back. It’s time to schedule a movie date with your loved ones – just remember to ask for captioning devices and help when you get there. 

What hearing devices are available to you? Glad you asked! Availability varies by theater and location, but typically assistive listening devices offer amplified audio from movies while audio description offers spoken narration that gives in-depth explanations of important details from a movie. You can also ask for a closed captioning device which allows you private captions right from your seat! Want more? AMC theaters offer open captions (on-screen subtitles) on specific movies and releases at 240 of their locations. Just view their showtimes and filter for open captions to see captions right on the big screen. 

These tips can also help make your movie theater experience better: 

  • Use accessible seating 
  • Ask about discounts 
  • Utilize assistance 
  • Arrive early 
  • Research ahead of time 

Learn more about these tips for an accessible movie theatre experience here. 

Watching TV and movies at home  

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH) shares that one in eight people in the United States have hearing loss, so you can imagine watching movies and television shows at home can be a little daunting – for you and many others. Getting the volume settings right may be a challenge, especially when certain programs and streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu have different volume presets. Or perhaps you’ve been longing for the whole theater experience – surround sound and all but don’t have the right equipment.  

You might think to yourself, “I’ll just turn up the volume” but decide against it. Great call on your part! Sounds over 85dB can damage your hearing faster according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Be mindful of how loud you adjust your volume to protect your hearing and others.   

So, how can you make your home theater experience better? From finding great deals on soundbars that can help amplify sounds coming from your television to using Bluetooth™ to connect to your hearing aids or headphones, there are many tips and tools that can help you hear your TV better without having to worry about disrupting others around you. 

  • Place soundbars near your television to get a movie-like theater experience with surround sound from all angles! Check out the best soundbar deals right now. 
  • Use wireless headphones and connect to Bluetooth™ for more private listening and to avoid disrupting others by turning the volume up all the way. They may also cost less than you think, starting around $30 depending on the features.  
  • Connect your hearing aids directly via Bluetooth™ or loop system (a special type of sound system for people who use hearing aids that have a Telecoil) to hear the sounds from your favorite movie or television show better.  
  • Turn on closed captioning to see captions of a movie or TV show for a more enjoyable experience like captioned calls of what your callers say on your caption phone. How to turn on captions can vary by your service type and TV, but is typically found in your Settings. 

Learn more about how to hear your TV better here 

Whether you’re ready to enjoy an outing to the movie theaters or relive classics at home, don’t let hearing loss hold you back! Movies are a great way for you to spend time with your family and friends and even better with the right tools and resources. Rather stay inside? Invite your loved ones over to watch a movie and make a day out of it. You might even choose to host a potluck style movie night and enjoy good food, good company and good movies! So, what do you plan to watch next? 

ClearCaptions helps you stay connected to your family

Learn more about how it works.

Related articles