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Public Places with Closed Captions

Look around your city or travel destinations – there may be closed captioning services nearby.

One of the public places with closed captions is live sports events.

The 1981 Sugar Bowl was the first live sports event to offer closed captions for event attendees. Photo credit: Laurens County Courthouse, Dublin, GA

Whether traveling or at home, the availability of hearing loss technology and other services may be closer than you think. Closed captioning is one tool that can help improve your listening experiences when visiting certain venues or using area services. This technology delivers a transcript of dialog, sound effects, or other audio cues at an event on a television or video screen. Although you may have to seek it out, many public places are equipped with closed captioning, including:

  • Sports arenas
  • Movie theaters
  • Colleges and universities
  • Airports
  • Places of worship
  • Hospitals

Keep reading to learn more about each of these public places with closed captions.

Sports arenas
Many sports stadiums and arenas are equipped with closed captioning. Trivia provided by the National Captioning Institute tells of the first live sports event to offer these services. Care to take a guess? It was the Sugar Bowl in the New Orleans Superdome between the Georgia Bulldogs and Notre Dame on January 1, 1981. When at a stadium or arena, look for closed captions near the scoreboard or other monitors that highlight the exciting aspects of a live sport, including play descriptions and scoring, referee and penalty announcements, in-game announcements and promotions, and song lyrics.

Movie theaters
If you love going to the movies, consider requesting a personal closed captioning device to make your experience more enjoyable. All American theaters are required to have hand-held or clip-on devices that attach to the back of the seat and feature closed captioning and audio descriptions technology. This device helps ensure you catch every word so you can fully enjoy the immersive experience that a movie theater offers. Be sure to speak with your local theater before the movie begins to receive a device. Some theaters also have dedicated showings with captions included on screen. Check your local listings to find out when this option is available at your local theater. Look for signs at the theatre that indicate what devices are available.

Colleges and universities
Many schools and universities provide closed captioning and transcription services for recorded lectures, online courses, and other educational media. Some higher education institutions feature advanced technology that gives live access to captions, so students don’t have to wait until the lecture is over. To see about the captioning services available at the college or university you, a family member, or friend may be visiting, check with the instructor or information technology services department in advance.

Whether you’re jetting off to a far-away destination or taking a quick trip for business or pleasure, the airport is another public place with closed captioning services. As of 2015, airport media and audio displays like those in security areas, passenger lounges, ticket counters, restaurants, and airplane televisions are required to provide closed captioning. If you do not find captioned notices at your gate, check in with an airline representative. If you’re interested in more information on air travel with hearing loss, check out the helpful tips from our blog.

Places of worship
While not required by law, many places of worship take advantage of new technology that provides closed captioning services. You may find captions available on online worship broadcasts, distributed DVD or other media content, or even on-site worship services with real-time closed captions. Check with the administration office to inquire about whether closed captioning is available at your place of worship.

Whether you’re visiting the hospital for medical reasons, an educational seminar, or stopping by the cafeteria or gift shop, look for closed captions on all television monitors. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that closed captioning is one of hearing-accessible services made available in hospital settings. Others include TTY or hearing aid-compatible telephones and live or video remote interpreting (VRI) services for hospital patients, family members, or companions.

Improvements in technology, as well as advocacy efforts, have made it easier to find closed captioning in public places like these, but you may have to look around or inquire with a venue representative. When you’re not out in public, you can still enjoy the benefits of captions from the comfort of your home. Learn how to turn on closed captions on your TV or streaming device and discover how CapTel captioned telephones can help you catch every word of your phone conversations.

For more resources, tools, and tips, browse our fast-growing library of hearing loss blog posts.