How Captions Benefit My 84-Year-Old Mother
While visiting my mom on Mother’s Day earlier this year, I noticed that the closed captioning feature on her television was turned off. You see, my 84-year-old mother only has about 10% of her hearing remaining. Because of that, those little words running across the bottom of the screen are really important to her.
I already knew that my mom loves to watch college basketball, especially her Kentucky Wildcats, but imagine how surprised I was to find out that her favorite TV show is “Naked and Afraid.” Really? Come on, she’s eighty-four. I don’t want to know WHY this is her favorite show. In fact, I have convinced myself that it has to be the beautiful island scenery that she is attracted to. Yes, that has to be it.
It’s funny how my mom and I have this role reversal thing going on. Now, I’m the one saying, “Can you please change the channel?” But, regardless of what I want to believe, she does not get her full enjoyment of the program if the closed captioning is missing.
My mom is one of 50 million Americans with hearing impairment. Whether she is watching a program on her television or watching a video on a tablet, the closed captions are very important to her. Her total engagement in any form of video entertainment directly links to the presence of closed captions. And she’s not alone.
Bottom line: Captions matter for all content.
While broadcast television requires closed captions, content produced for digital platforms does not fall under those same laws. But, adding captions to all video content makes a huge difference for people like my mother. It’s the right thing to do and those who provide this valuable service to our elderly, and other hearing-impaired individuals, should be highly commended.
So, as long as my mom doesn’t feel compelled to re-enact an episode of “Naked and Afraid” in my presence, I’ll be happy to know that she is following every storyline by way of closed captions.