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Protect Your Hearing – Television Subtitles as an Alternative to Increasing Volume

television subtitles and hearing loss

Captioning services including VoD, broadcast and television subtitles are typically thought of as catering to deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Closed captioning is typically aimed at viewers with restricted access to sound. However, there are significant advantages to all viewers in actively turning down media volume in favour of using subtitles.

When it comes to watching (or rather listening to television), deafness can pose a number of challenges. ‘What did he just say?’ ‘Who is actually talking right now?’ ‘I wish they would turn down that darned background music!’

Television closed captioning and SDH are designed to answer those questions and provide text which includes dialogue, sound effects, speaker identifications and more. In contrast, standard subtitles, however, only cover speech.

Why do Deaf Viewers use Television Subtitles instead of Turning up the Volume?

For hearing viewers who don’t use television subtitles, it can be difficult to understand why simply turning up the volume isn’t a solution to accessing speech, but hearing loss isn’t black and white: deaf or hearing. Hearing loss typically varies between high and low frequencies and it can also fluctuate. Most hearing loss tends to be concentrated in the high frequencies (p, s, th, f, c…). As the volume is increased, these sounds can become more distorted. Consequently, speech is no easier to hear – almost like trying to ‘shout’ a whisper…

Using captions means hard of hearing viewers can avoid turning up the volume, which could potentially cause further damage to hearing.

For profoundly deaf viewers who choose not to use hearing devices, subtitles can work as an alternative to sound. Similarly, for viewers who are hard of hearing but able to pick up the majority of speech, captions provide extra support. Subtitles don’t only exist to provide access to sound but also to prevent concentration fatigue, working to support and reinforce audio information.

Why should Hearing Viewers use TV Subtitles instead of Turning up the Volume? 

The use of subtitles can have many benefits for hearing viewers, but sadly, these are often overlooked. The main benefits are:

  • Restricting the volume on your TV or device helps prevent damage to your hearing.
  • Using subtitles helps to increase focus and attention.
  • Captions help to reinforce information as it’s received through both sound and vision.
  • Mishears can be avoided and accuracy of information better maintained through high quality captions.
  • Subtitles ensure sound information can be accessed even in noisy environments or situations where sound is compromised.

At Capital Captions, we believe that all audiences deserve the highest quality television subtitles and closed captions. We offer subtitling services in a range of different formats to suit the needs of all viewers. Whatever your intended audience, whether it’s foreign speakers, the deaf or hard of hearing or even Googlebots, we can provide the right service for you! Contact us today for more information. 

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