Never or Always Surprised

Why am I forever surprised by people who I thought understood my hearing loss, showing a lack of understanding when I ask them if I can turn on the captions on their television?  This recently happened to me.

I don’t know what they were thinking.  Did they think the captions were going to mess up their T.V.?   Did they believe the captions would be a distraction to their watching?  Did they think I can hear T.V. but not one to one conversation in a group?  Did they believe my hearing aid to be directly linked into the T.V.’s volume control?

Jeesh! It’s hard enough getting through my day with explaining things but when it comes to playtime with friends, I expect more.  I expect respect and no pouting faces showing an expression of “oh how distracting.”  Sorry hearing people, I’m not feeling sorry for you, if you feel distracted by the captions.  I don’t exactly appreciate sitting there and not being able to follow what’s being said on the T.V. while you can all discuss what’s transpired during commercial breaks, all while I feel left out.

It’s not a small matter.  You see, I don’t watch any show that does not provide captioning anymore.  I write thank you notes as much as I can to the sponsors of the captioning.  I believe we, people with hearing loss and deafness/Deafness, should have total accessibility to communication.  That means, real time captioning in case of an emergency in all transportation systems.  Captioning should be made mandatory for all movie theatres.  Why shouldn’t I be able to go into a movie theatre to see any movie at anytime that I feel like it? The hearing person has that availability.

I really should not be surprised by hearing peoples’ responses anymore. Afterall, they have no idea what it’s like to not hear speech. Unless you tell them you are deaf, having a hearing loss still means we can hear.  If we can still hear than hearing people just “assume” we are hearing everything.

0 thoughts on “Never or Always Surprised

  1. It’s also true of TVs in some restaurants. One restaurant, newly installed with giant TVs wall to wall, was approached about having just one of them display captions. “No, no, must call the technician who installed them.” When it was explained that the TV’s own control panel or a remote will have a CC button that toggles it on or off, it was still “No, no, must call the technician.” Really, he refused even to be shown the button itself! Just for ONE out of several TVs!

    Fortunately this was an exception. Other restaurants that had from one to several TVs were willing to turn on CC on request.

  2. I always have to laugh when I see large flatscreen T.V.s in restaurants and even Doctors offices with no caption on. Who can hear the T.V. anyway? The room is very noisy to begin with…lol Once in a GYN’s office, I told the Doctor that she really should have the captions turned on since the volume was on low to begin with. It’s amazining how many people do not even realize they have access to the captioning.
    The next time I showed up at the GYN, the T.V. had captioning on.

    But you’re absolutely right Dianez, there are many places that could easily access captioning. Recently, when I was off from work and watching morning T.V. I realized many news channels that have CC in the evenings, do not have them during their early morning shows. Jeesh! do they think we only watch T.V at night? and what about all the retired people at home who need the captioning? For all the 21st Century has going for it with technology, people with hearing loss still cannot get CC everywhere.

  3. Pearl, this made me very sad and frustrated. I have had similar experiences. All I can say is those who think that captions are so inconvenient today have a one in three chance of becoming hh at some point in their lives. Many of them WILL understand eventually and they will be thankful that we fought so hard to have captions everywhere. I do believe that some day captions will be looked on the same way as handicapped parking. You hope you never need to use it, but in the event that you do, you thank God someone fought so hard for it.

  4. This post you are spot on with, and my family and friends have slipped up by not doing it too. But thankfully they are better now.

    I once got told, but cannot remember who by, that they found em annoying. But I said it’s something you will you will get used to. Like I have had to get used to using them as well. It’s the only way I’m going to follow.

  5. Loved your post, Pearl, and I know those pouting faces well. I just want to flick a person when they look at me like that… just walk up and flick them in the head. DUH!! You do know I can’t hear!!! But, as you said, many think if you have any hearing at all you aren’t really someone who needs captioning. Sigh… I say, make captioning mainstream! Force it on the masses, and after a while it won’t even be a big deal. Why not have closed captioning on all movies in theaters and all video screens displayed in a public place? Hearing people would get used to it after a while. And if the theaters lose business from the hearing population because of the captions, then I believe they would more than make it up with all of us D/d/HoH that can’t go to movies now because we have no options. Captioning doesn’t take away options for hearing people, it only adds options for a big segment of the population who doesn’t have any! Let’s provide options for all, then let the chips fall where they may! ~~Michele

  6. Your post is timely. The DOJ (dept. of justice) is receiving responses to over 20 questions about CC in the movie theaters for final regulations. HLAA sent ‘action alerts’ for responses to them before the deadline of January 24 (this week). Below is my letter to them addressing areas that I find missing from all organized participation. You can copy or create your own. Also HLAA ( ) has details and their sample letter. Plus the DOJ has the questions to review and answer to at I hope they get a lot of informed responses and start taking us seriously.

    Disability Rights Section
    Civil Rights Division
    U.S. Department of Justice
    P.O. Box 2885
    Fairfax, Virginia 22031 – 0885

    Re: Docket # 112; RIN 1190-AA63

    Dear Sirs and Madams,

    There will be many letters listing specifics that need addressing. But I simply want to state that 97% of the deaf population are regular hearing adults become deaf later in life (past school age). I am one. Our Culture and world is hearing and we know the meaning of a ‘twig snapping’ or ‘soft single trumpet softly playing’ in a movie. Unlike Deaf Culture (the 3% remaining), we are not helped by social services. Most of us lose our jobs. There is no provision to learn ASL etc. But we do need our break from our new reality through television, the movies and the internet like everyone else. I am asking for complete inclusion of captioning in all mediums.

    There is no financial reason to exclude caption in all movies. If theaters do not want to invest in CC technology, then have them use OC. The deaf are only some of the people who use captioning. Many foreigners understand the printed word before they fully grasp spoken English. They will find it more accessible if it is OC. Remember that most of us can trace our roots to a foreign country. Captioning has improved a bit but is still incomplete on over 90% of the productions, but it’s better than nothing. We get no support for this fact because people are not aware of our reality at all or of the quality of captioning. Help open the doors against ignorance and start addressing the needs of the adult deaf in America by doing right by captioning. There have been studies done on OC and most people get used to it and don’t mind it at all after a month or so. Think of all Americans while reviewing this subject and do right by us.

    The ANPRM is flawed in proposing a rule that only 50% of all movies must be made accessible through captioning over a five-year phase-in period. Equality means equal choice.
    Open Captioning should not be ruled out. OC should be favored as the Captioning of choice. It is viewed, not only by the deaf and hard of hearing but also by the many OC is an effective means of making aurally delivered information available. Not only is OC effective and should be permitted, but it should be required in situations where OC is possible but CC is not.

    Question 1. Neither the proposed 50% access requirement nor the five-year compliance schedule is appropriate. Unless a theater can show undue burden, there should be 100% captioning as is required under the ADA. OC is free. A zero year compliance makes sense.


    Trudy (address and email included in orig. mailing)

  7. I used to talk to this HoH woman and made this same complaint and she told me what she did to her father, since he was forever turning off her captions:

    She waited until he was watching a show and then took the remote and muted it. When he complained he couldn’t hear it she said “exactly” and turned them back on. She said he didn’t turn them off anymore

  8. I wonder if churches are open to CC in real time? I go to a “mega church” with 5 big screens. I wonder if just one could have CC of what is being said. I get about 80% of what the pastor says, but when he gets serious, his voice drops and I’m lost. I find I miss most of his punch lines, too. I keep my eyes on the screens during prayers, hoping for visual clues. Your post has inspired me to ask what can be done. Surely in a church this size, I am not the only one who would benefit.

  9. There are many, MANY churches who provide CC during services. I strongly recommend you check out the website at
    they are all about captioning. You can write Lauren, the founder of the organization and the website and ask her. I’m certain she can help you.
    good luck

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