The “Hearing Experience,” Part II


I have been thinking some more about my “Hearing Experience” at Gallaudet, and I thought I would share another story with you.  We have a small movie theater in the SAC (Student Academic Center), and every Friday and Saturday night, the Student Body Government provides a movie to watch.  I remember that it used to feel strange, watching every movie with closed captions, but not any more. Actually, I prefer to have them on since I seem to miss so much that is said without them.  At any rate, I loved going to the weekly movies (if they were showing a good one anyway) and invited a hearing friend to watch movies with me occasionally. 


The first time my friend and I went, everything went fine.  We saw “Freedom Writers” and, even though we were both unused to closed captions at the time, we still greatly enjoyed the movie.  The second time that my friend agreed to watch a movie with me (it was “Enchanted”), the speakers did not work at all.  The movie could play along with its closed captions, but there was absolutely no sound.  After trying to fix it for 45 minutes or so, the students gave up and we sat for a few minutes watching the musical without music.  My friend looked uncomfortable, and I asked him if he wanted to watch the “silent movie” or do something else, and he said he was fine watching the movie.  A few minutes later though, he finally gave in and said that he could not focus on the movie and read the captions at the same time, and it was driving him crazy. 


I understood since I had once felt the same way, and we left and watched “The Office” re-runs instead.  Funny, the next weekend I went to watch “Enchanted” with another friend and the theater still had no sound.  Every time a song played, I either tried to remember how the tune went (I had seen the movie in theaters a few months beforehand) or made up my own tune for the lyrics.  Thankfully, there was sound for “August Rush” though.  I cannot imagine watching it without hearing the orchestra music.  However, of course, my Deaf friend who went with me could not hear the music although she could feel it. 



It is a strange sensation trying to put myself in her shoes and see what she and the other Deaf people were getting from the movie simply by watching the closed captions, feeling the vibrations, and watching the scenes.  Because of this, I catch myself evaluating the quality of closed captions in movies.  Did they include the background noise?  Did they say what song was playing and show the lyrics to the song while it played?  Did they include every spoken word or were some things left out?  I am surprised that so many closed-captioned movies leave some things out that hearing people take for granted but that are so important to the movie.  You know what?  It makes me want to become an advocate for closed captioning.  Who knows?  Maybe one day I will.


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One Response to “The “Hearing Experience,” Part II”

  1. Brian Oconnell Says:

    that is very true , Whhen I was kid I went school for deaf , Iam hearing person But ca’nt talk when was kid so they sent school for deaf how true it is. Know older person , I put on the close caption on the tv my fammilly get mad at me alltime, they say iam not deaf , they dont understand that I use off be around with poeple .
    who are deaf all my live.

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