It’s a sad fact that one in every six people suffer from some form of hearing loss. Naturally, that number is much higher in the senior community. While this problem may be easy to fix in the home by turning on subtitles or cranking the TV’s volume to uncomfortably high levels, these solutions don’t necessarily work in the company of others.
This sentiment is especially true at movie theaters. Yes, the sound level is traditionally left at a very high volume. And yes, those with hearing disabilities can wear hearing aids. But one problem that’s inescapable is the noise from others – noise that would be annoying to most, but could prevent the hearing disabled from catching large chunks of a movie’s dialogue.
One must also consider that some people suffer from such severe hearing loss that a high volume or state-of-the-art hearing aid still might not be enough when so many people are around. An easy solution would be to include subtitles on all screens, but ask any theater manager and they’ll tell you the general public won’t be tolerant of these “distractions” during movies.
That’s where Sony has come in. The electronics giant has created a pair of glasses that actually superimpose subtitles onto the screen for the deaf and hard of hearing. The BBC recently ran a story on these innovative glasses, and the test subject noted that the subtitles really seemed to appear directly on the screen.
Like most other high-tech glasses, this pair isn’t very stylish. However, with the popularity of 3D, the dimly lit movie theaters and our general disregard for what others are doing while a blockbuster is playing on screen, users ought to be okay.
The BBC noted the glasses could be available in UK theaters as early as next year. What do you think? Would you wear them if you were hard of hearing?