SDH subtitles, or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, are a popular option on video platforms, and many people come to us wondering what it means. Essentially, “SDH” refers to subtitles that meet the additional needs of viewers who do not hear the full soundtrack of a program.
SDH subtitles include indicators of every audible element:
Sound effects: Gunshots, barking dogs, ringing phones, beeping texts, and whooshing light sabers are all examples of sounds that are described in SDH subtitles.
Speaker Identification: Without a symbol or name identifying the speaker, lines of dialogue will run together, leaving the viewer confused over who said what and when. This is especially important for off-screen speakers.
Music: Lyrics and musical descriptors are important elements of a production’s soundtrack. These are all included in SDH subtitles.
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SDH subtitles for English-audio programming is the general default option at VITAC. Almost all platforms and distributors require video that is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Who Benefits from SDH Subtitles?
Not only do SDH subtitles make video accessible to the nearly 50 million Americans with hearing loss, but they also benefit:
Viewers who watch without sound: A Verizon study found that 69% of consumers watch video with the sound off.
The millions of viewers whose first language isn’t English: Studies show that reading while listening improved retention by up to 60%.
Children learning to read:Students using captioned materials show significant improvement in reading comprehension, listening comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, word recognition, decoding skills, and overall motivation to read.