I find that most producers and television stations don't really love the idea of captions. In fact, they often find it a nuisance. There are reasons that everyone should love captions, but it is just a matter of being aware of the 94-million Americans who use--and most likely--love closed captions. Read the top five reasons why you should love closed captions too.
1. The Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Love Captions
I guess this is a given, but most people do not know how many people are actually affected if there are no closed captions present on a television program. The number of deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans is astounding--approximately 28 million people! Equal rights to all include providing access to all, which is something we can all smile about.
2. Multi-lingual America Loves Captions
Being from the LA area, I hear how many different languages are spoken in US. All I have to do is go to a local market and hear the multiple languages spoken--Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Farsi, Vietnamese... you name it! In America, the number of non-native English speakers is growing, which means most of them are actively learning English. In fact, over 30-million Americans are learning English as a second or other language. What easier way to learn than to watch television in English with English closed captions. You are not only listening to the language but you are reading the language. Your neighbor is learning English with the help of captions ... and that should make any American happy.
3. Grandma Loves Captions
As we all know, not all grandmas (or grandpas for that matter) need closed captions, but many, even the ones without significant hearing loss, enjoy watching television with closed captions. My 85-year-old grandmother lives alone and is pretty much housebound due to her being on oxygen. Her main form of entertainment is television with closed captions, even though she has very little hearing loss. The day her cable box stopped working she almost had a panic attack. Even if it is just to watch the latest Ellen DeGeneres show, closed captions make my Grandma happy... and probably yours too.
4. Six-year-olds Love Captions
Anyone who has young children, has had young children or knows young children, understands it can be a struggle teaching them to read. Ten million Americans are school-age children learning to read in school, but ultimately the parent needs to take time to read with their child and have their child practice reading to them. Most children watch some amount of television daily, in fact studies show that children watch an average of 1,680 minutes of television a week. Children watching television with captions on, improves their reading skills at a far faster rate than children who do not watch television with captions. That is pain-free teaching for parents... and that would make any parent happy.
5. Adults Who Cannot Read Love Captions
It sounds strange that someone who cannot read would love captions, but captions are a tool to help illiterate adults learn to read. It may be an astonishing fact, but about one in 20 adults in the U.S. is not literate in English and 27 million American adults are improving their literacy skills. Using captions is an easy way to aid in the adult learning process. You may not have thought about so many adults not knowing how to read, but knowing your captions may help, makes it worthwhile.
It is hard to think about the usefulness of captions unless you have someone close to you that captioning directly affects. Maybe captions could help someone close to you that is not using them. Pass on the word and turn on your captions--it may help more people than you think! Do you love captions yet?