The Benefits of Closed Captioning: It’s Not Just for Those with Hearing Loss

By Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D. –

Television closed captioning, which displays the dialogue of a TV program in an on-screen text format to allow the viewer to read along, has long been a very important tool for hard-of-hearing television viewers. However, my husband Michael and I (even though we have normal hearing) also enjoy closed captioning. We feel we sometimes miss things due to a variety of reasons: built-in television speakers may be of poor quality, actors sometimes whisper or talk rapidly or, if you are a PBS or BBC America viewer, those English accents and colloquialisms can sometimes be downright incomprehensible! Closed captioning also comes in handy when the need arises for the television’s volume to be lowered or placed on Mute. In addition, we think watching closed captioning is good for your brain because you have to focus on hearing and reading at the same time.

Using closed captioning will vary by television, but is usually a simple process to implement.

1.    Check to see if closed captioning is available for the program you have selected.  In your TV guide, the letters “CC” should appear at the end of the description.

2.    Locate the option for closed captioning on your remote or under your TV’s Menu by pushing the Menu button on your TV remote control. You will probably find it listed under Settings or Languages.

3.    Set the closed captioning option to “on.”

4.    To use closed captioning with DVDs, look for the CC label on the back of the DVD case. Turn on your television’s closed captioning to view the captioning or select English subtitles under the Setup/Language Menu of the DVD.

Closed captioning systems are also now widely available in movie theatres. For example, AMC theatres, as part of its nationwide conversion to digital cinema, recently announced it will begin installing personal captioning equipment by CaptiView, on a rolling basis, across its national circuit. Installation has already begun in New York. For more information about CaptiView, visit,/

According to a recent press release by The Hearing Loss Association of America(HLAA) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), the new closed captioning systems will work as follows:

“Movie captions convey the dialogue, narration, musical cues, key sound effects, speaker identification and other auditory information, in the form of written text for guests who have significant difficulty hearing the movie soundtrack. Closed captions are relayed – in sync with the movie – only to guests who choose to receive them via a personal display device. The captions are not visible to the rest of the audience. ” A local internet search of “movie theatres with closed captioning” will reveal theatres with closed captioning near you.

1 Hearing Loss Association of America and AMC Theatres® Reach Landmark Agreement to Dramatically Improve Access to Movies for Millions of  Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Patrons in New York State;


Dr. Noël Crosby, Au.D., owner and practicing audiologist at Advanced Hearing Solutions in Englewood, FL is an experienced  professional whose career has been devoted to helping people of all ages hear and understand more clearly.

With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Crosby’s career path is marked by the pursuit of advanced education.  After completing her undergraduate requirements, she received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from Florida State University and her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida.

Her credibility as an authority grew during her tenure as the Director of Audiology at the Silverstein Institute in Sarasota, FL from 1991-1998. Today, in addition to managing a successful audiology practice, Dr. Crosby just completed her second term as president of The Florida Academy of Audiology.

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