Our industry has a long history of creating some incredible experiences. But when you are hearing-impaired, it is easy to miss one of the most important parts of that experience – the sound. And without that sound, you may be missing the story. There are a variety of different solutions to try to bring hearing-impaired guests into the experience. Solutions like reflective captioning post LED signs (with reversed) type in the rear of the theatre offering a transcription of the dialogue as well as descriptions of any other sounds that may be occurring in the show. By holding up a reflective piece of glass in front of their view of the screen, the guest can read what is going on. However, these signs are often distracting for other guests as they are visible throughout the theatre.
In this story from InAVate, Sony demonstrates “subtitle glasses” which allow an individual to have access to the subtitling without impacting the entire theatre. Not only does this personalize the experience but for guests from other countries, it opens up the possibility that each guest can have subtitling in their native language. In many show scenarios, the Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop is used for multi-lingual translations of the narration or show dialogue but for assistive listening applications, “subtitle glasses” hold great potential. It will be interesting to see how they are integrated in our industry.