On subsequent pages, we’ve outlined the basic rules and requirements for captioning. We aren’t lawyers and advise all video creators to check with their legal adviser on all issues.

VITAC has worked with caption viewers and advocates for 28 years, and though not all video must be captioned by law, we do think everything should be captioned, if only for the benefits captions provide for all viewers.

Over 50 million people benefit from closed captioning:

  • Over 31 million Americans are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Captioning gives these viewers equal access to the audio portion of video programming.
  • Over 40 million people belong to gyms and health spas, where captioned TV is often the only way to enjoy programming over the noise of exercise equipment.
  • 3 million children learning to read can use captioning as a tool to improve reading and listening skills.
  • 10 million people over the age of 17 for whom English is not their first language can use captioned television as a powerful and effective literacy and language-learning tool.
  • 2 million Americans over the age of 62 who suffer from hearing loss and do not use hearing aids can benefit from captions.
  • One-third of all veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer substantial hearing loss. Hearing damage is the number one disability among the 1.3 million troops who have served in two war zones.

Everyone Else:  We’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t fit the above categories, but hasn’t experienced the benefits of closed captions, in very quiet or very noisy environments. Just as curb cuts in sidewalks mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act benefit more than persons with disabilities, captions benefit more than those people who cannot hear.