Amy’s Hearing Loss | YouTube + Closed Captions

So, in a perfect world my children would always eat their veggies, road grime would slide off my freshly waxed minivan, and closed captions would make an iota of sense.

In a not-perfect-but-getting-there world, my children would always nap at the same time and I would be able to upload closed captioning to all of our videos to make it more user friendly.

I wish video platforms and the FCC would work better to make subtitles work a little better for those among us who need them, but for now it is up to video creators to upload their own video file transcripts, which is a pain (even though YouTube does the work of auto-syncing which is a wonderful feature, don’t get me wrong)!

In my household, the captions are always turned on – because that’s how my wife prefers it. So we thought. We both aren’t sure when the “prefers it” turned into “needs it.”

We didn’t realize that she was starting the first slow signs of hearing loss, because we were not even thirty years old when we met; it just wasn’t on our radar. I didn’t notice that when the captions were off, she couldn’t really hear what was going on, just politely watched and assumed that I couldn’t hear either. We began to have disagreements about things that were and were not said. Things that were heard or not heard.

After it became apparent she was truly having difficulty hearing me, and when I felt like I was shouting when talking to other people after spending a day with my wife, did I suggest she mention it to our primary doctor.

After a few quick tests she was referred to an audiologist and is now the proud-ish owner of her first pair of hearing aids, at 34 years old.

I ignore the captions for the most part. They rarely make sense to me, and often cover up translations that are built into the video file itself. If a cast member is speaking in another language and it has a raw translation at the bottom, Closed Captioning ‘helpfully’ covers that with a giant “INAUDIBLE” or “VIBRANT MUSIC PLAYS IN BACKGROUND”. Gee, thanks.

Now that I am more aware of how some people really do depend on these closed captions, I am trying to take steps to update our videos, and will try to post as many translations as I can.

Here’s an example of what that looks like on the back end:

So, a bit of leg work but I think it’s worth it!

Do you use close captions? Do you know someone who depends on them, or is frustrated by the poor quality? Sound off in the comments!

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