Theaters slowly adding technology to help blind, deaf patrons

Monday, November 28th 2005, 10:00 am
By: News On 6

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Did you catch the new movie everyone's talking about?

If you're visually or hearing impaired, there's a good chance you couldn't. But that's changing. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is announcing a deal today involving eight national theater chains. They agreed to implement technology to help visually and hearing impaired patrons enjoy movies in 140 theaters across the state.

Nationwide, more than 150 movie theaters have added special systems to help the deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. Most of those theaters are in major cities that made the move voluntarily, but states are now putting pressure on theater chains to spread the technology or risk discrimination lawsuits.

Spitzer says movies are an important part of popular culture, and everybody should be able to enjoy them.

New York theaters will add ``Rear Window captioning,'' in which hearing disabled customers can use an acrylic panel to read caption. They also will provide listening devices more compatible with hearing aids.