Top Ten Reasons to Turn on Closed Captions

By: Laura Swanson
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We love all closed captions at VITAC. We think everyone can benefit from having them on all the time. But you don’t have to take our word for it! We’ve compiled information from surveys, studies, and publications to tell you our top ten reasons to turn on closed captions. 

  1. Captions make content accessible.
  2. Captions support veterans.
  3. Captions support the workforce.
  4. Captions benefit people who are neurodivergent.
  5. Captions benefit people learning another language.
  6. Captions benefit children learning to read.
  7. Captions are polite in public.
  8. Captions are polite at home.
  9. Captions are cool.
  10. Captions can save money.

1. Captions make content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

20% of the worldwide population is affected by hearing loss. Captions make audio-visual content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, ensuring that they can enjoy entertainment, informational, and educational content just as readily as hearing individuals can.

2. Captions support veterans.

Hearing problems are far and away the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans. The US Department of Veterans Affairs also identified links to auditory processing disorders among service members exposed to jet-propulsion fuel. Captions make audio-visual content accessible for service members who incur hearing loss injuries. 

3. Captions support the workforce.

In the United States alone, more than 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise in the workplace. Prolonged or regular exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent damage to the hair cells and other structures within the cochlea, resulting in irreversible hearing loss. Captions make audio-visual content accessible to the millions of workers in industries commonly identified as having high noise levels, including, but not limited to: shipbuilding, engineering, manufacturing, building and construction, woodworking foundries, mining, the food and drink industry, agriculture, and entertainment. 

4. Captions benefit people who are neurodivergent.

It’s estimated that 5% of children worldwide are diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Worldwide prevalence of ADHD in adults is estimated at 2.8% of people. Studies have shown that captions or subtitles can help people with ADHD retain audio-visual material. 

More than 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many autistic people use captions and/or audio description to help them better follow, connect with, and interpret audio-visual content. 

5. Captions benefit people learning another language.

Maybe it’s not quite the same as taking a class, but captions can support viewers of content that is in another language. This study shows that watching any audio-visual content in another language with the captions turned on helps aid with better listening comprehension and information recall. 

6. Captions benefit children learning to read.

Similar to those learning another language, captions on audio-visual content can help children with better identifying speech patterns, word pronunciation, and reading comprehension. It just goes to show, you don’t have to throw the book at someone in order to improve literacy.

7. Captions are polite in public.

With video content accessible almost anywhere with the simple tap of an app, viewers can catch content almost anywhere, including places like libraries, gyms, or public transportation. In the 21st century, muting the sound where a blaring audio track might disturb others is simply good manners. 69% of people report viewing video without sound in public places. 

8. Captions are polite at home.

1 in 3 US adults lives with a roommate. And 40% of US households have children under 18. In shared living spaces, it makes sense to mute, or lower the volume on audio-visual content that may wake a sleeping baby or roommate. 25% of people report viewing video without sound in private places. 

9. Captions are cool.

Captions are more popular than ever, especially among younger generations. In a recent survey, Generation Z was shown to watch videos with captions 70% of the time and Millennials were shown to watch videos with captions 53% of the time. Additionally, more than 80% of Netflix users watch subtitles

10. Captions can save money.

You might be wondering, “how does that work?” A recent study by the Job Accommodation Network found that companies that were able to provide reasonable accommodations for employees were able to cut costs by reducing turnover and all the costs associated with finding, hiring, and training new talent. Captioning workplace meetings or trainings means employees who are deaf or hard of hearing can contribute in the same way their hearing colleagues can, increasing productivity, and, as a result, are more likely to remain loyal to companies that do more than just try to tick a box on accessibility and inclusion. A nice bonus!

And one reason more – it’s easy!

Captions are more readily available than ever before on almost every social media app, on streaming platforms, and broadcast and network TV. Captions are also available at many theaters, concert halls, event centers, and stadiums. And that number is likely to increase as captions continue to surge in popularity. After all, 31% of people say they’d be more likely to attend a live event if they knew it would be captioned. If you’re unsure of how to turn captions on, check out some of our info here and here