Deaf movie lovers are finally being catered for at the cinema.
by Martin Hafer
An important innovation you may not be aware of that's at many of your local cinemas.
I recently took my daughter to the movies which would normally be a miserable experience for us both. My daughter is deaf and until recently, that meant me spending the entire movie interpreting the film for her. Understandably, she hates this because it's hard to see someone signing to you in the dark and I hate it because it's almost impossible for me to enjoy the film. Fortunately, some movie theaters (such as the local Regal Hollywood 20 here in Sarasota, Florida) had recently installed devices to help, not just the deaf, but also the hard of hearing--and I fit into that category. As long as I sit close to the speakers, I am fine...but this isn't always possible. Additionally, my wife is deaf in one ear and she simply won't go to movies because they haven't been captioned ... until now.
These devices work great if you are deaf, hard of hearing or just plain getting old. And, some theaters have multiple options. The Regal had two entirely different systems--one that sits in your cup holder and shows you what the characters are saying or a pair of special glasses onto which captions appear! According to my daughter, the second option worked great. And, if you have some hearing, they also have a headset that can come with these glasses.
Is there any downside? Yes. The life of the batteries could be better. When we watched The Martian (which is a 144 minutes) the battery died with about 5 minutes to go in the picture! The manager says that is occasionally a problem when I talked to him about this. Fortunately, I could sign the last few minutes of the film. So, if you are going to a longer film, you might want to ask for two of these devices in case the first one conks out on you. Still, it's a nice little device that now opens the theater doors for millions of folks who have wanted to go to see movies but simply cannot hear them properly or at all. Be sure to ask the theaters near you if they have the devices and if they don't, insist they start carrying them or you'll go elsewhere. I know I'll be frequenting this place a lot more often.
Have you had any similar experiences at the cinema? Feel free to share in the comments section below.