Get your game on with some hearing-loss-friendly video games.

Hearing loss accessibility features in video games help players of all abilities get in on the fun.Video games can be a fun way to transport yourself into another world and enjoy a little friendly competition (against other people in person, in multiplayer mode, or even just against the game itself)!

Since audio is often a key component in games to let you hear dialogue, notify you about incoming challenges, and enrich the experience with music and sound effects, people with hearing loss may wonder how much they’ll actually be able to enjoy.

Fortunately, more creators are starting to add hearing loss accessibility features in video games! Let’s look into some of the ways this is possible:

  1. Touch feedback
  2. Visual cues
  3. Control of different noise levels
  4. Subtitles and live captioning
  5. Text-centered games

Below, we’ll explore how these hearing loss accessibility features in video games work and how you can enjoy them the next time you pick up a controller.

Touch feedback
These days, the latest video game controllers and headsets are being designed with “haptic feedback,” which gives you real-time physical feedback as you play games that support the feature. The goal of haptic feedback is to use vibrations with varying degrees of intensity to simulate how something might feel in real life, from big things like crashes and explosions to subtler sounds like footsteps and raindrops. With this kind of precise touch feedback from your controller, you can sense and react to a lot of things without needing to hear them!

Visual cues
In video games, visuals are often more important than sound in the first place. You don’t necessarily need to hear car sounds to know you’re driving in a race, or monster noises to know you’re fighting. Some games will give you visual alerts when something important is happening, called “awareness indicators,” so you know if there are obstacles or other players in your vicinity.  Check out these five video games that are visually beautiful and great for people with hearing loss.

Control of different noise levels
Many games have dynamic sound controls, so if you have a hard time hearing through a bunch of background noise, you can adjust the levels yourself. For instance, you could turn dialogue all the way up and background music all the way down. This will make it easier to hear the important stuff while tuning out ambient sounds.

Subtitles and live captioning
One of the most common hearing loss accessibility features in video games is pre-written subtitles or active live captioning for the dialogue and other audio components. The website Can I Play That? gives accessibility reviews for various games where it explains how well they are subtitled (among other accessibility questions). Horizon Zero Dawn is an example of a very well-captioned game! If you play games like e-sports, many platforms offer live captioning.

Text-centered games
Certain games don’t even have a heavy audio component that requires subtitles at all — instead, the game might have been built with text for everyone! For instance, there’s Stardew Valley (a peaceful farming game), the Shadowrun sci-fi video games, and even some totally text-based browser games. Some of these games are like reading with an interactive component!

Did you know that video games are good for your brain in addition to being a fun pastime? Check out these five benefits of video games!

CapTel Captioned Telephone