I Miss Closed Captioning!

October 8, 2019.  One of the challenges faced by those of us with hearing loss is understanding what we are hearing.  This can be difficult when watching TV or a movie.  Although we tend to gripe about the sometimes poor quality of the closed captioning available on TV programs, it is a service that someone like me increasingly relies on.  This was brought home to me recently while in The Netherlands.  Very few programs have closed captioning, and if they do, they are Dutch translation subtitles of foreign language programming. The Netherlands broadcasts programs in the original language, but will provide Dutch subtitles.  So it is surprising that programming in Dutch is not commonly captioned.

In Germany, by contrast, most programs have closed captioning (in German, of course), but the bonus was that programs on BBC had closed captioning in the original language, in this case English.  While we were in Germany I could watch TV in comfort.  In The Netherlands, all I could do is look at the pictures, in spite of the large number of English language programming available.

I thought of this recently as I compared it to our current project of providing videos on topics of interest to those of hearing loss.  Each video, posted on our own YouTube Channel, is fully captioned.  We are in The Netherlands for a commemoration event and when we made a short video explaining how this event came to be, we made sure that even this video, unrelated to hearing loss, was captioned, with the help of the amazing Wendy Nattress, who kindly provided the post-production editing and captioning.  Take a look:


On September 24, 2019, Angela Walker of CBC PEI news ran a very short news clip about our YouTube project, and was kind enough to provide the script from this interview:

Hear PEI is launching a series of You Tube videos in an effort to reach more people. The group advocates for and supports people who have hearing loss. Public education is a large part of its mandate. Daria Valkenburg is the vice-president and secretary.

The grant is for $900. The videos cover topics ranging from the benefits of using car loops and pocket talkers .. to some of the challenges that people with hearing loss face and how those challenges can be met. So far five…. five minute videos have been locally produced…with two of them already released. The hosts and guests in the videos are all seniors. Valkenburg says response has already been positive and if funding allows…they hope to produce more videos in future.”

Quoting me: “The challenge we had is that when we watch something on TV or in the movies we don’t always understand what we are hearing. So one of the reasons that we asked for a grant from the Senior Secretariat of PEI was not only that we could make these YouTube videos but that we could make each video have closed captioning.”

Since the interview ran, a third Hear PEI YouTube video has been posted.  For more information on the videos, see these previous postings: ‘A Pocket Talker Changed My Life’ We Are Your Bridge To Hear and Grant Awarded From Seniors Secretariat of PEI)

One benefit of not watching TV is finding time to write during a busy vacation!  But I miss watching TV and the closed captioning that allows me to understand what I am hearing!  Thank you to Wendy Nattress and Angela Walker. As always, you can email us at hearpei@gmail.com, comment on our blog, and follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI.

© Daria Valkenburg


October meeting:  Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 11:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian Church. NOTE: This is a luncheon meeting! Brenda Porter will lead a discussion entitled “Our Stories Matter: Helping Others to Understand….An informal, mini-workshop on sharing our own voices.  


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