Closed Captioning Rules and Regulations

In this section, we outline the basic rules, requirements, and captioning regulations. We aren’t lawyers and advise video creators to check with their legal adviser on all issues.

VITAC has worked with caption viewers and advocates for more than 30 years. Though not all video must be captioned by law, we do think everything should be captioned. 

Millions of people benefit from closed captioning:

  • Over 50 million Americans are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Captioning gives these viewers equal access to the audio portion of video programming.
  • Over 50 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 a literacy and language-learning tool.
  • The 2 million Americans over the age of 62 with hearing loss who 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.