The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

The Obstacles Of Having Hearing Friends And Family That Love The Movies Friday, January 26, 2007

Thursday night, MK and I went to see the simultaneous ASL-Voice play at school titled Obstacles. It was a great play, really emphasized the obstacles that deaf people face in a hearing world. I haven’t been to one of those plays in a long time, but only because back then I couldn’t understand what was going on, due to being a new ASL learner. I’ll discuss the play next time, and the obstacles it talked about.

Tonight I realized that I had my own obstacles. My hearing friends. Ok, maybe not them, per se, but the things they choose to do. They want to go to the $2.00 movies tonight, and invited me to come along. But they forgot that I needed open-captioning (OC).

So, I told them that it wasn’t OC, and that they could go ahead and go without me.

I really didn’t feel like
a) going outside when the temperature currently “feels like -2” according to the weather report
b) sitting through a movie, missing the dialogue, but knowing what happens visually. It ruins the movie for you when you actually see it with captions because you already know what happens.
c) watching a movie when I would rather watch it in the convenience of my own apartment, without missing anything if I have to go to the bathroom. I also have a particularly bad habit of falling asleep during movies.

Anyway, it’s fine with me, as I’m used to not going to the movies with everybody else. A few years ago, I told my family to go ahead and go without me, when one of nieces/nephews wanted to go to the movies for their birthday, but it wasn’t OC and it was about $15. So I went home to my mom and did other stuff.

The last time I went to a non-OC movie was Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. I only did that because I had never been to a midnight opening of a movie, and wanted to experience it. Secondly, HP4 was my favorite book in the series (of 1-6, when’s #7 coming out?) so it would be easy to follow along, because I already knew what happened in the book. I don’t even remember what was the last non-OC move that I saw.

My friends discussed about the possibility of coming over to watch a movie, since we’re all going out to do errands in the morning together. I didn’t hear back from them until they were already at the theater. Apparently, they lost track of time, and had to leave immediately, and weren’t able to tell me what the plan was until after they got there.

Growing up, I was forced to go to the movies like every week with the other kids at my babysitter’s house. The only thing I liked about it was that I got to have all kinds of special treats at the movie, and it was nice and cool inside. It was a great relief in those days, as the summertime temperatures were ~115, and we spent the entire day in the pool, swimming and being toasted to a golden crisp by the Arizona sun, even with sunblock on.

I do remember being traumatized by movies or television that I watched as a little kid. I got so upset seeing “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” only because I didn’t understand the dialogue, and the grandma looked like/reminded me of my own grandma, who I was especially close to. There were times I would be scared, such as in Silence Of The Lambs, The Black Hole, The Neverending Story (it’s one of my favorites, now that I understand what’s going on), and Speed (ok, that one was Dad’s fault, as Mom expressly told him that I was not allowed to watch it because I was too young. I was up all night, too scared to go to sleep, and so were they).

But that’s the way it was growing up. I hated it. I was so glad when the ADA was finally passed and captioning was mandatory. For the first time in my life, I was able to participate in watching stuff with my peers and family. No longer was relegated to sitting in the corner of the room, my nose buried in a book, or making up my own storylines to match what was going onscreen.

The benefit to that is that I became exceptionally well-read and extremely creative with the stories I would come up with. And then captioning came, and I learned to read fast, devouring information quickly.

I don’t want to keep my friends and family from going to the movies, which they enjoy doing and makes them happy. My mom and Stef both said it would be great if I can understand movies with the CI, so I can go with them. I don’t know when that day will come, or if it ever will.

I want to be able to go to the movies when my family and friends want to go, without having to check and see if it’s captioned. The movie I want to see, Dreamgirls, isn’t even available in my area, OC.

But where do I draw the line between going along with being a part of a group, doing something that I really don’t want to do versus being all alone, doing something else that makes me happy? It’s a conundrum.


7 Responses to “The Obstacles Of Having Hearing Friends And Family That Love The Movies”

  1. Tony Says:

    Hi. I will have my implant activate next week Tuesday. So, I am wondering…Do you still depend on open-captioned to watch movies? Can cochlear implant help you understand spoken dialgues in movies without OC?

  2. Kyle Says:

    “The Black Hole”! A cheesetastic classic!

  3. Allison Says:

    Hi Tony,

    Congratulations on getting activated soon! Be sure to let me know how it goes!

    As for understanding movies without open-captioned, I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I’ve only been activated for just under 6 months, so it’s too soon for me to tell. I hope to get to that point, but at the same time, I’m not getting my hopes up high. In order to do that, I’m going to have to work extra hard with listening therapy, and even then, there are no guarantees.

    I can understand some words here and there, but not enough to be totally independent of assistance (open captioning, closed captioning, interpreters, relay, c-print etc.). For daily interactions, I read lips and can do just fine without assistance, if it’s 1-on-1 or with people that I know well in a group.

    I do have to admit that the cochlear implant really helps with understanding speech because it gives you all the speech sounds you couldn’t hear before. It’s amazing actually hearing f, s, sh, and all the high-pitched speech sounds, instead of your brain filling it in.

    If you have any other questions email me at bionically AT

  4. Aaron Says:

    Hello Allison-
    I just discovered your website and I think your blog is wonderful! I am just completing medical school and am about to start my residency in ENT with the plan of ultimately becoming a neurotologist. Seeing how you have progressed is nothing short of inspirational. I have assisted in putting in a few CIs, but have not yet had the opportunity to really watch someone go through the programming and improvement over time, so I have enjoyed getting to see these things vicariously through your blog. I found particularly interesting your audiograms, and would love to see more as you progress. Anyways, just wanted to thank you for this glimpse into your world and keep up the good work!

  5. Allison Says:

    Aaron, (or rather, Dr. Aaron)

    Thank you so much for your comment. It makes me feel good to know that it’s helped somebody to see the other side of the process. As it’s been mentioned to me by some audiologists, sometimes there’s a disconnect between the surgical team, and the post-surgical team. In actuality, it makes sense, but it doesn’t allow for the greatest benefit which is the whole process.

    I’m so happy to hear from you, and hope you can lend a medical perspective to anything on this blog!

    keep in touch! (I don’t know if your email address works) but I’d love to hear your perspective…and maybe I’ll tag you someday for a photo project on medicine!

    I’ll be sure to add some new goodies (it’s about time for a status report on the implant/my hearing) so stay tuned!


  6. funnyoldlife Says:

    Hi Allison
    You mention captioning is mandatory under the ADA -do you mean it should be available but it isn’t?
    We have a problem with availability in the UK, hopefully with the new Disability Equality Duty, it will get better.

  7. Allison Says:

    Hey FunnyOldLife,

    it is supposed to be mandatory, but the rules have been changing lately.

    President Bush is on a mission to eliminate funding for captioning.

    I hope it does get better in the UK, but with the way things are going these days, you never know.

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