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AMC Theatres agree to create a better hearing environment

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) announced they have reached an agreement with AMC Theatres® (AMC) to improve access to its movies for patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. Under the agreement, AMC will make available personal closed captioning systems at all of its digital screens in its 24 theatres in New York State within one year.

AMC is installing captioning systems in New York, and across its national circuit, on a rolling basis in conjunction with the company’s national conversion to digital cinema. Installation has already begun, and personal captioning equipment is currently available for about a quarter of screens at AMC locations in New York.

AMC Theatres will make it easier for individuals with hearing loss to enjoy movies. Movie captions convey the dialogue, narration, musical cues, key sound effects, speaker identification and other auditory information, in the form of written text for guests who have significant difficulty hearing the movie soundtrack. Closed captions are relayed – in sync with the movie – only to guests who choose to receive them via a personal display device. The captions are not visible to the rest of the audience.

AMC worked closely with HLAA, an advocacy and membership organization for people with hearing loss, and DRA, a non-profit legal center with offices in New York City and Berkeley, California, to set the timetable for installation of captioning capability in New York.

“The Hearing Loss Association of America applauds AMC’s collaborative efforts to provide closed captioning technology, which will result in our constituents with hearing loss being able to watch more movies in New York theatres than ever before,” said Anna Gilmore Hall, Executive Director of HLAA. “We think this can be a national model for enhancing the viewing experience of moviegoers with hearing loss.”

“As a New Yorker, and a movie lover with hearing loss, I am thrilled with this agreement,” said Jerry Bergman of HLAA’s Manhattan Chapter, which initiated the dialogue with AMC to provide captioning at its theatres in New York State. “I look forward to being able to watch more closed-captioned movies at convenient locations and times.”

“We commend AMC’s continued support for captioning,” said Anne Kelsey of Disability Rights Advocates. “AMC’s decision to provide captioning in its digitally converted theatres makes first-run movies available to millions of patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

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