For many people with hearing loss, enjoying the entertainment options that you used to can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Hearing challenges can make it difficult to follow the plot in TV shows and movies, and uncomfortable to enjoy sound-heavy activities like concerts and sporting events.
While proactively seeking professional help for your hearing loss is usually the best way to reignite your enjoyment of personal entertainment options, there are a variety of options available to help people with hearing loss continue to relish treasured leisure-time activities.
Do your loved ones complain about the volume of the TV? If it is hard for you to hear the dialogue in your favorite programs without turning up the volume, you may want to consider taking these steps:
- Check your captioning settings: Since 2006, all English-language television must be captioned, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[i] Check with your cable provider or read your television manual to learn how to turn on captioning.
- Streaming your content?: In 2012, a Federal District Court ruled that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), online streaming content should be accessible as well.[ii] Learn how to enable captioning on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon.
At the movies
If you have dodged going to the movies because your hearing loss makes it difficult to follow the on-screen action, try these simple tips:
- There’s an app for that: Check out smartphone applications like Subtitles Viewer; apps like this provide subtitles and captioning for new releases. Pro tip: be sure to ok the use of your mobile device beforehand with theater management so you don’t violate any policies.[iii]
- Get there early: Movie theater audio is balanced to sound the best about two-thirds of the way back and in the middle of the theater.[iv] Arrive early to snag the best seats.
- Look into assistive listening: The ADA requires that movie theaters provide assistive listening devices to people with hearing loss. Several chains have begun offering hearing-impaired customers the opportunity to use closed-captioning glasses while watching movies, enabling the reading of dialogue when it cannot be heard. Call ahead to find out what types of devices your neighborhood theater offers.
At a sporting event
Sporting events can bring with them a virtual cacophony of sounds. Following the action and communicating with your fellow sports fans can sometimes be challenging when you have hearing loss. Follow these tips to have a fun fan experience:
- Ask about assistive listening: Again, the ADA requires that sports stadiums provide assistive listening systems to people with hearing loss. Ask about devices at the stadium’s guest services desk.
- Protect yourself from further hearing loss: The noise levels at sporting events can be excessive; when you can go without hearing the action, use earplugs to protect yourself from further damage to your hearing.
At a concert
Depending on the type of concert you attend, the accommodations you may need to make will differ. Remember these tips next time you crave musical entertainment:
- Research assistive listening: Many venues offer assistive listening options for people with hearing loss. Call ahead and ask what options are available.
- Protect your ears: Unless you solely stick to classical music, concert volume can be detrimental to hearing health. Bring those earplugs you snagged for last week’s football game to this week’s gig.
- Check your settings: Regardless of the type of concert, if you wear hearing aids, many brands have special settings designed for listening to music.
If your hearing loss has reached a point where it negatively impacts your enjoyment of the leisure time activities you used to love, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Proactively treating hearing loss is the most important step in overcoming obstacles to enjoying your life to the fullest. Esteem could be the solution to your problems. Learn how it works or get more information today!