A recent law makes closed captioning decoders a requirement on most new tv’s. This is a great blessing for the over 24 million Americans who suffer some kind of hearing impairment. Benefits from this new law go beyond the deaf and hearing impaired community. Those who support the mandatory inclusion of decoders say that even those who have no hearing issues will gain a lot from this law. The children and elderly that can’t hear very well will find this new component to be beneficial. As will those who may be learning to spell, or are learning to speak English. Today’s generation finds themselves watching on average 24 hours of television a week, while generations before television used to use that time to talk and read as their forms of entertainment.
Closed captioning cannot replace sparkling conversation or an engaging book, but it’s definitely better than simply sitting slack jawed in front of the television. Beginning July 1993, any television set with a 13 inch screen or better that is either made in the United States or is imported into the United States for sale has to have a decoder circuit. These circuits allow the set to show closed captioning on the screen.
The belief of one audiologist that works with preschoolers is that offering closed captioning for the children with hearing disabilities will open the world to them. It used to be that the kids sitting in front of the television with hearing disabilities had a hard time keeping up with what was going on the programs they watched. The constant distortion accompany minor hearing loss made television watching impossible. Closed captioning’s contribution to the lives of hearing impaired individuals can be compared to that of the telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD). This translates speech done over the telephone into print.
And, closed captioning offers one more thing. Children and adults, even those without an impairment, can use it to better their reading skills. Those for whom English is a second language or adults who struggle with reading should be able to view the words as spoken and enhance their reading and spelling. If you are one of those that prefers to watch regular television and not have to see the closed captioning, you will be able to turn it off. Closed captioning will also help the hearing impaired know what is going on in their communities as well as what events might be happening.
Closed captioning really levels the playing field. Up until now, many Americans have not had equal access to the revolution that is video. Those who had damaged hearing often cannot watch shows that many take for granted. If the show lacked closed captioning, the hearing impaired individual really couldn’t watch it effectively. Though you can benefit from closed captioning if you suffer from any kind of hearing loss, the mother of one young, profoundly deaf woman is very grateful for it. Her daughter has learned many new things via closed captioning. The thirty-five percent of elderly with hearing loss will certainly enjoy closed captioning. One mother reports that she seriously thought about the decision to purchase a decoder for her son. He is thirteen years old and has severe to profound hearing loss.
An auditory manner was his method of education. Not many people have chosen this process of education, according to the mom. The students cannot read lips in the early grades. No one signs. So the visual becomes very important. The student uses a hearing aid and compensates with what he can see. Her son is now able to use the telephone, according to the mother. She got the decoder, in the end, to help him be a better reader. Closed captioning is usually seen at the bottom of the screen. Italics show that the person is whispering and sound effects are spelled completely out.
1982 saw the first Oscar Telecast with closed captioning, which for those with hearing disabilities was a great reason for celebration. ABC first started using closed captions in 1980 for roughly 16 hours a week. All three major networks now broadcast all their prime time line-ups with closed captioning. In fact, there are over 400 hours of programming available per week. This comes to around 60 percent of programs on television are being close captioned for the benefit of all. Cable networks are beginning to catch up to the networks with closed captioning, and about 2,000 movies have been closed captioned for home viewing.