I always watch TV and Netflix with the sound down and subtitles on, I’ve been doing this for at least 5 years, probably longer. The sound does go on if someone else is watching as well but in our house this doesn’t happen all that often, my daughter mostly watches YouTube on her iPad and my Wife is into the likes of “Real Housewives of Orange County” whereas “Breaking Bad” is more my cup of tea. So quite often I can watch with my preferred setup of no sound and subtitles.
I get asked why I prefer subtitles when I can stil hear. For several reasons…..
Yes, I can still hear, but I don’t hear like most people do, it is not something that is easy and happens passively, I have a severe hearing loss so listening and understanding conversations is hard work, it is effort.
So the first reason I turn the sound down on the TV is that I want to enjoy the show effortlessly. After a full day of listening, pardoning?, trying to stay in the conversation it is nice to kick back, relax, and just watch the show – if I relied on the sound I would no doubt be rewinding often to try and work out what I had missed, who said what and what the hell is going on. Not fun.
Secondly, I don’t want to disturb others in the house by having the TV too loud, if I had the volume up where I had the best chance of hearing it I would be drawing glances from the family. I was at my parents’ house the other week, my Mum has a mild/moderate hearing loss but refuses to wear her hearing aids – she turned the TV on, rammed it up to an insane volume and you could see everyone in the room wince, it actually hurt my ears, she was asked to turn it down pretty quickly!
Lastly, I’m pretty sensitive to loud noises, I think many people with hearing loss are, so there would be a balancing act between having the TV loud enough to hear but having to bear the noisier parts of the show.
Subtitles work really well for me, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by having no sound, you can still see
easily an actor’s mood and feeling without actually hearing how they said something. But a weird thing is when I do finally hear a show that I have watched for a long time on subtitles – those voices! uh! They sound like that? I always have an idea in my head of how someone someone sounds but it is never how they really sound, you can imagine my surprise when I finally heard Dr Sheldon Cooper talk!