I am relatively new to the hearing impaired community. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as the result of a serious accident in 2016. Injuries and long term affects vary greatly for TBI sufferers, so what I mention in this essay is specific to my particular TBI. With that being said, I’m going to talk about closed captioning which affects many people. I started to use it regularly because of my TBI, however, others use it for a variety of reasons. When I began to use closed captioning regularly I was struck with how the system should be updated and made more easily accessible in many forms of technology in order to help a wider range of people.
When I started to use closed captioning regularly in 2016 I was amazed at how behind the times it seemed, how few things are captioned and how the hearing public is very unaware of any of these things (sadly it wasn’t until it affected me personally that I became aware myself ).
I’ve developed a graphic that lays out all the ways I think Closed Captioning can be and should be improved. See below.
For me (again, I speak of how I’m personally experiencing Traumatic Brain Injury) my TBI presented that I was completely non-hearing for the first 3-4 months after my 3-week coma following the accident I was in. Then I began hearing a little. However it was heavily distorted. And for the first 3 months that began to “hear” again I experienced what I’ve nicknamed the “sound loop.” When I began to hear again my brain gathered about 7 sounds and played them on a loop every moment I was awake. I no longer have the sound loop but my hearing is very compromised and all voices and sounds are heavily distorted to the point of being disturbing. It’s honestly like living in a horror movie. Which is a real bummer because I never have liked horror movies. I watched “Silence of the Lambs” through the zipper of my sleeping bag at a sleepover (granted, I think we snuck watching that movie by the adults in the house). My brain also can’t process music. It just makes it sound like metal on metal noise. You can read more about my brain injury experiences here and here and more about my hearing here.
The long story short (although I basically told you the long version already 🙊) is that my hearing has been a struggle since the accident in 2016. I’m doing various therapies, hearing aids, etc. However, in the meantime I’m still wanting to live my life. And being me I want to consume pop culture (TV, movies, etc.) I miss podcasts, live theatre and music. Although I know many podcasts offer transcribed episodes. I haven’t done that yet. I also miss live theater 🎭. There are many theatres where I live that offer captioned performances. I am definitely going to do that too.
So the world 🌎 is adapting. I just was surprised it hasn’t adapted faster being that technology is everywhere.
Side note: I find it annoying that I have to go to YouTube in order to get Closed Captioning on the promo “Next week on…” commercials for television shows I just watched an entire episode of in Closed Captioned. Again it’s a commercial so they’re not paying to caption it. That’s silly to me because I’m a built in audience. I clearly want to know what’s going to happen next week because I just watched this week (I’m talking to YOU The CW and The Flash, a.k.a. my favorite show on TV).