Tips & Tricks For Adults

Hear Better at the Movies

Going out to the movies can be lots of fun for many people, but it can, at times, be downright stressful for someone with a hearing loss. An unfamiliar location, new voices, and background noise can all lead to not understanding the dialogue in the movie, or conversations with others in the cinema.

What we’ll do in this blog post is give some tips that anyone with a hearing loss, or a hearing implant, can use to hear better at the movies. Whether you have a hearing loss, or are going with someone who does, you’ll find useful tips here.

We’ve broken it down into three parts: before, during, and after.

Prepare Yourself Before the Movie

Before heading out, it could help to familiarize yourself with the movie that you’ll be seeing:

  • Go online and find information and pictures relating to the main characters. This will help you to know a little more about their personalities and “pre-learn” their names so you’ll know who they are, without having to know their voice.
  • Talk about the plot with someone, whether in-depth or in more general terms (if there are spoilers). This will make it easier to know what’s happening in the story even if you’ve not understood everything.
  • If trailers are available, watch them. Like talking about the plot, this will give you a short summary of what will happen during the movie.
  • If you have a child with hearing loss:
    • If this is their first time to the movies, explain to them the process: buying a ticket, getting concessions, and sitting down to watch the movie.
    • Let them know that it will get dark, so they aren’t surprised or worried.
    • Make sure they know it’s important to stay close to you, because it could be busy and noisy in the cinema.

Hear Better While at the Movie

When you’re at the cinema, ask about the accessibility options. There are a number of different technologies that may be available to help movie goers better understand the movie, including:

  • Assistive listening devices, like a hearing loop. These can help you to tune into the cinema’s audio, directly and without background noise, which helps you to hear better.
  • A variety of captioning options may exist, depending on your movie, so ask if any of these are available to you:
    • Some cinemas project captions directly onto the screen, so everybody can see them.
    • Others use “rear window captioning,” which is a handheld device that shows subtitles only to the person holding it.
    • It’s also possible in some cinemas to wear a special pair of glasses that projects captions onto the lenses.
  • If you have a child with hearing loss:
    • As you’re moving through the cinema, keep your child close. Movies can be busy so they’ll hear best if you stick together.
    • Some cinemas have special parents & children showings, and these can provide a nicer environment for a child who’s not used to the movie.
    • Take photographs of your experience, like pictures of the ticket counter, the concessions counter, signs with the movie’s name, your seats, and so forth. Then after going home, you can review these pictures and talk about what’s in each one—this will help build your child’s language skills.

Learn After the Movie

After you’ve watched the movie, review what you just saw. This can help to clarify what happened in the movie or fill in any questions that you might have.

  • Look back at the pictures of the main characters. Talk with someone about what each character did in the movie, and give your impressions about their personalities and other characteristics.
  • Also talk about the plot, and highlight what parts you found surprising.
  • If you have any questions, or didn’t understand something, ask someone if they can help clarify.
  • Watch the movie again at home. Re-watching it will help you to use your memory and clearly understand it the second time, or connect any dots you might have missed the first time.
  • If you have a child with hearing loss:
    • Look again at the photos you took, and talk about what’s in each one. Name objects in the picture, like “chair,” “sign,” and so on. This will help your child to learn some basic vocabulary that’s applicable even beyond the movie.
    • You might like to create an experience book with your child about their experience, and also about the movie’s plot. This will help them to better understand what happened, and will give them the chance to further develop their listening and language skills.


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