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The Motion Picture Access Project (See section at left) was created to revolutionize theater going for the entire deaf and blind communities, but theater owners are somewhat at a standoff with consumers. That is, theater owners have been reluctant to make the initial investment to install equipment because they're unaware how large their potential audiences would be and subsequent profit. So, like a chicken and egg dilemma, they fear they won't have enough customers to make it worth their while; sadly limiting accessible film opportunities. Captioning and descriptive narration were developed by WGBH in Boston. To find an AMC theatre with accessible options, click here.  


Assistive Listening Devices
Many people are not aware that they may request assistive listening devices (ALDs) at movie theaters. These are headsets that access the theater's infrared, FM radio, or audio induction loop sound system. ADA Title III requires that movie theaters and playhouses with at least 50 fixed seats provide ALDs to four percent of the audience. That means that a 100-seat theater must provide four ALDs. Headsets will access the house soundtrack from any seat in the theater. ALDs help a listener hear the soundtrack, as well as block out background noises.

A movie theater, playhouse, auditorium, house of worship, or public meeting place will each have its own type of sound system.

Therefore, the type of ALD offered will greatly vary in quality from one theater to the next; it's advisable for the hard-of-hearing user to test the device before the movie begins to be sure it is working properly and is set for the correct movie (not set for another movie shown in the same complex). If you possess an adapter that allows you to plug your hearing aid directly into the theater's sound system, make sure you bring it (a neckloop or coupler) with you.


Open Captioned Motion Pictures
A film having open captioning is a film printed with subtitles; closed captioning requires a decoding device to view captions.

Open captions contain dialogue, as well as descriptions of sounds and music - vital elements that, like the set design and costumes, set the tone and texture of a production. The soundtrack still plays along with the film, regardless of a consumer's ability to hear it. 

Open-captioned films are becoming increasingly available in the United States and internationally. Several companies produce character-generated subtitles. You or your group may wish to request a theater owner to show open-captioned films. You may be the first person to alert the theater owner of the need for open-captioned films in the area. It's profitable for theaters to increase their clientele by including deaf or hard-of-hearing customers through available technology. Per your request, a company that distributes open-captioned films will also contact a theater owner.


Sony Entertainment Access Glasses
These glasses project captions that appear to float about 10 feet in front of the users.  They also come with audio tracks that describe the action on the screen for blind people or they boost the audio levels for those who are hard of hearing.  Click here for a YouTube video about these glasses.  


CaptiView® Closed Captioning 
The CaptiView system consists of a small OLED display on a bendable support arm that fits into the theater seat cup holder. The easy-to-read screen is equipped with a high contrast display that comes with a privacy visor so it can be positioned directly in front the movie patron with minimal impact or distraction to neighboring patrons.


USL Closed Captioned System (CCS)®
USL Closed Captioned System (CCS)® The CCS is designed to enhance the hearing impaired cinema patron's movie-going experience. A single infrared emitter broadcasts closed caption text and two channels of audio into an auditorium which can be picked up by either a display that can be flexibly positioned in front of you or special eyewear.


Click here for a search engine that helps you locate theaters with accessible options. Simply click the location link in the top right corner, enter your zip code and the website will provide a listing of theaters within 60 miles of that zipcode.  Click each link to determine if there are accessible showings. Click here to determine what the caption acronyms mean. 


Sensory Friendly Movies
AMC Theatres offers this program on a monthly basis in select areas where the lights are up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up, dance, walk, shout or sing.  Click here for participating theatres.


Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP)
Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Promotes and provides equal access to communication and learning for students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind. Has a free-loan library of described and captioned educational media. No user-registration of service fees are needed. 


Hangout Captions
An app that connects live transcription services directly into a Google+ Hangout, to improve accessibility for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing.


Foreign Films
Don't forget to see foreign films! Foreign films have subtitles so they've always been accessible to people with deafness or hearing loss. Foreign films are culturally enriching, which enhances the whole movie-going experience. Each new country or genre provides a refreshing break from the formulaic trend of popular movies here in the United States.