Closed captioning was intended to help those with a hearing impairment be able to enjoy television and movies, but it’s use extends far beyond a specific demographic. Are you a parent of littles? You might not want to turn up the TV and disrupt the peace of naptime, but you can turn the volume down and read along instead. And although closed captioning isn’t the most reliable in capturing the exact words of the show, some simple shows with closed captioning can help early readers learn—or people learning a second language. Closed captioning helps us understand a movie with heavy accents or understand what’s going on even when there is noise around us. I thought I knew a lot of the lyrics of the Hamilton musical because I listened to the soundtrack often, but I realized how much I had missed when I watched it with closed captions.
I sometimes wonder how helpful (and terrifying) it would be to have closed captioning in everyday life. What if there was a real-time ticker that showed up about each person’s head as they spoke, revealing what they really mean by the words they speak? A decoder of sorts to peek into the motivations and emotions behind the words. It would be helpful at times. We’d understand the angry person is scared or sad or overwhelmed. We’d know the person being nice to us might have ulterior motives. We’ll catch deception a lot earlier before it erodes the relationship. We might do some damage with our immediate responses to what the closed captioning reveals. We might also become more intentional about our communication.
Obviously, this isn’t possible, but what if we asked more questions for clarity and chose to be more intentional with our words? Maybe even the consideration of closed captioning would keep us in check as well as help us understand. Maybe it would improve our interactions and relationships.
3 thoughts on “Closed Captioning Required”
Having hearing difficulties myself, I appreciate closed captioning. I am very much a visual processor more than an auditory one. I often do not hear things correctly at all, which has provided some humorous moments and some embarrassing ones. It is why I have found Facebook and social media more comfortable than face to face communication, especially in crowds. Add background noise and I am lost most of the time. There are days at work where I come home mentally exhausted just from trying to focus and pay extra attention to phone conversations because my work area is excessively noisy with everyone in the phone at once and other people coming into our work area to talk. Closed captioning would be nice…one thing at a time please!
Then again, with social media
things are not always as they seem. You miss the inflections and body language that sometimes give folks away if they are not being truthful. There is no perfect solution to communication issues.
I agree! Definitely no perfect solution to communication issues. It takes a lot of intention to do out best to communicate healthily…and we still get it wrong.
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I often do!!