Boston bars and gyms have to turn on closed captioning on all their TVs under new ordinance
Mayor Wu signed an ordinance, sponsored by City Council President Ed Flynn, that requires all "public-facing televisions" in Boston to have captioning turned on for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
In addition to bars and gyms, the new ordinance also applies to banks and other places of public accommodation that has TVs aimed at patrons or visitors - with the exception of "public entertainment venues," which are exempt, because, officials say, there are other methods for people with hearing disabilities to get captioning at movie theaters and concert halls under federal and state law.
In a statement, Flynn said:
This ordinance ensures persons with disabilities have full access to information and resources shared to the public. ... This is a step towards accessibility. We will continue to focus on equity for residents and visitors with disabilities. Disability rights are civil rights.
The City Council unanimously passed the proposal last Wednesday. Wu signed it Friday.
City Council votes on the measure:
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As a hard of hearing person, this is good news. Even when I once had excellent hearing, it was sometimes hard to follow what was being said on TV over all the noise.
If something important happens, it's critical that all of us be able to understand what's going on.
Yes good, but
Have you noticed how the captioning is almost uniformly crappy? Missing lines, wrong words, sometimes gibberish. It's better than nothing, but not a lot better.
I've seen that too
Mostly during news casts for some reason.
I figure it's because the captioners can't keep up. That's understandable. What really bothers me is when the captioning on scripted, prerecorded programs is so bad. It's often internet-commenter bad. Using reign instead of rein, or breaks instead of brakes (on an automotive show!), or poured instead of pored. Mistakes like that make it hard to follow the narration, especially when the captioning lags, then rushes to catch up, only displaying for a second.
I'm of two minds on this
If I'm in a bar/restaurant that is showing Jeopardy, I always wish that they would have the CC on. You can play along without hearing anything. Obviously this could be very helpful to many others in lots of different situations.
The con would be for sports. The critical info like the score and the period and the time is already on the screen most of the time for all to see. Watching the World Cup with the commentary taking up screen space would be intrusive and annoying to me.
There was a big sports bar in
There was a big sports bar in southie where you could borrow a private speaker for your station
The captioning blocks a lot of the useful visuals (the game) and covers it with things most people don't care about (the commentary).
The scores and other stats are useful but these are already on the screen and risk being covered by the captioning too.
If this results in fewer TVs in restaurants, all the better.
I agree on the sports part.
I agree on the sports part. IMO, sports bars should be exempt from this because a) most bars don't have audio anyway & b) taking up a large portion of the screen during games for (mostly unnecessary) commentary, while blocking a lot of the action is bad for everyone.
I'm a bit shocked sports bars around town haven't fought this proposal...although I'm guessing because they didn't realize it was implemented
Since most don't have the
Since most don't have the volume on, this will be good so you can read what is going on.
Not just Deaf/HOH
Captioning also helps people who have auditory processing difficulties especially in busy settings, which is a large percentage of autistic and ADHD folks and also includes some folks with psychiatric disabilities.
(This is important to mention when discussing this type of accommodation, as some accommodations for auditory information use language that specifies the person must have a hearing disability to be eligible, and this excludes a number of the folks who need similar things like captioning, instructions provided in writing, etc.)
He said up two streets and take a right
Italian, thousand island or vinaigrette?
He thinks he loves her but he's going to leave her anyway!
If they could draft for shit….
If they could draft legislation for shit, they would have required closed captioning for TVs whenever the audio was being played, but carve out an exception for TVs that are shown with the sound turned off, which would cover a lot of the screens in a lot of sports bars.
Also, ever notice how hard it is to get hold of the actual text of city ordinances? It’s almost like the people we’re paying to write them don’t want to be held accountable or something.
I have normal hearing loss for my age,
a miracle given how many dangerously-loud live music shows I've attended since my youth. The steadily growing noise levels in restaurants and bars over the years led me to start including a note on the topic in my reviews some years ago (a first among local pro critics, I believe).
I try to factor this in when an erroneous order arrives at the loudest spots: my server likely tried but couldn't catch my words over the roar. If my pocket sound pressure meter registers over 85 dB or so, I point at the menu to reinforce my order.
Given how this harms the health of workers -- the chronic adverse impacts of prolonged exposure are well documented -- I'm surprised there hasn't yet been a class-action suit on behalf of them of the kind that ended smoking in restaurants and bars.
Gyms aren't nearly that loud in my experience, but I still welcome this development. I'm one of those people who now watches many TV shows with captions because the dynamic between dialog and sound effects hurts comprehension. I'm blessedly hearing enabled and can only imagine what this issue is like for those with lesser hearing function.
I endorse this
Thank you! I'm deaf in one ear, and loud restaurants make any conversation impossible for me. My worst experience was in that Dim Sum place near Beach St. I didn't measure the dB, but it was near pain levels. I was dismayed to learn that some restaurant owners actually encourage more noise, in the belief that it somehow attracts customers.
Yes, restaurant noise levels are almost always
a conscious design choice. If you want to attract a younger crowd and repel the olds, make it loud: Millennials and Zoomers equate quiet with deathly. It has the added benefit of discouraging table camping; you linger less when you have to shout to be heard, and another turn of the tables per shift is a huge profit driver.
Apologies for the generalization, but that is
an industry commonplace, evidenced by many places in South Boston that cater to that crowd. 90dB is a not uncommon reading: punishing.
I was jokingly referencing Stonekettle's pinned tweet. But not everyone knows of that person.
And you're correct about punishing noise levels. OSHA has something to say about it, but I suspect restaurant owners (or their managers) somehow have a loophole for their employees. Then again, smoking was removed from indoors for similar employee harming reasons, so maybe if enough people make a coordinated push to reduce noise levels, those spaces could be enjoyed by more people.
Turning on the captioning feature of TV's and turning down the volume for kids will help them to learn reading and spelling quickly.
I hope you don't teach other
I hope you don't teach other people's kids to read
I sure hope you aren’t involved
in any assessing or teaching of skills, since you couldn’t bother to Google the research on this practice (which is pretty well known in education/human development circles).
I hope you don't teach other
I hope you don't teach other people's kids to read
Spelling in pretty much all closed captions is atrocious. Even the ones done by PBS. If people are using it to teach spelling to kids, that probably explains a lot of the bad spelling on the internet.
BTW, that apostrophe in TV's doesn't belong ...
Oh look: another person who hasn’t taken a language acquisition course commenting on how language learning takes place.
Seeing misspellings and eggcorns in captioning is not really going to affect acquisition of early reading skills, and the research on captioning improving early literacy skills has used standard captioning, which is of varying quality.
If someone’s brain is still learning that text correlates to speech sounds, and how different semantic units look, this process isn’t going to be hindered by some errors. Kids’ brains make sense of all kinds of different spoken and written language input.
By the way, this nonsense view that errors or differences impede language acquisition (which is unsupported by research) has been used to discriminate against having peers with disabilities in mainstream settings, as well as having teachers with accents — including differing regional/cultural U.S. accents — in schools.
There aren't many errors anyway....
And this works for adults too.
At one point in my life I was fluent in Spanish. It has eroded since college since I've never had to use it outside some trips to Mexico. But after watching Narcos Mexico (amazing series) my Spanish came back to me and I have gained 100 new vocab words by reading and listening at the same time. I assume this would work with English Language learners as well watching TV with subtitles in their home language.
I also remember watching one of those "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" movies in Swedish with English subtitles. Almost subconsciously you start to realize and learn that Swedish and English are very similar. You can sense your brain flipping and thinking and speaking in that foreign language. Real interesting stuff.
EDIT: From Eeka's link:
My topic was spelling,
Not language acquisition. Are you going to tell me that reading text that's rife with spelling errors is going to teach kids how to spell correctly? If you are, I'm not going to believe it.
I’m not saying that.
But excerpt for the news (and live sports) I’ve never seen real bad closed captions.
No one said anything like that
The research is that turning captioning on when watching television helps kids (3-6 or so) with reading acquisition.
No one mentioned anything about using captioning to assist with spelling.
The comment I replied to, which I quoted in my comment:
Do you see it now?
The person who wrote that isn’t a neuropsych person, but I am, and it’s clear to me that they’re saying that seeing captions along with spoken language assists with learning how encoding and decoding work, which research supports. They aren’t saying it assists with learning to spell well in an academic context. (Which, while a valuable skill, is really pretty unimportant in the hierarchy of language skills.)
Learning to spell well and learning about homophones/homonyms is learned quite a bit later than understanding how encoding and decoding work. A child who is exposed to a lot of print will primarily see published sources with correct spelling. Seeing misprints in captioning doesn’t harm them, just as seeing poorly spelled schoolwork on the bulletin boards of their first grade and receiving poorly spelled birthday cards from peers doesn’t harm them.
If they’re in a language-deprived environment, in which TV comprises most of their exposure to language, seeing TV with captions is exposing them to more print than seeing TV without captions, which is why parents are encouraged to turn on captioning if they can’t manage much else in the way of literacy teaching.
Read the research.
Oh, and FYI, much of the non-live programming that kids would be watching does not use auto captioning or live captioning, which tend to have errors. Programming such as Disney shows uses a specific caption track, which at times will vary from the spoken track, but typically is free of spelling errors or eggcorns.
Good for you
Am I supposed to not reply to people who are not experts in some field? Apparently, that makes them "no one". Your eagerness to show off your special knowledge prompted you inject your sighing and condescension into a conversation that you didn't read carefully. I don't need that WOW lecture, thanks.
Here's an idea. With the
Here's an idea. With the exception of sports bars, how about not having TVs in restaurants and bars at all?
Just kidding. As I recall the Longhorn Steakhouse in the Old Sears building (Landmark Center) didn't have TVs but that Longhorn Steakhouse closed in 2015. Coincidence?
I would support this
Not as law or anything, but as a cultural shift. Unless I’m going somewhere specifically to watch a televised event, I don’t want to see a damn teevee.
You know what would be great though as an accessibility measure? Encouraging restaurants to list on websites/menus on the door/etc. whether there are TV-less areas and having staff familiar with people wanting to be where they aren’t visible/audible. I’ve been out with hearing-impaired folks who can’t follow a conversation if there’s also a TV (some places have TVs with sound on plus music on — how does that not drive the staff fucking nuts too?), as well as people with sensory or attentional issues who don’t want TVs (especially different ones on different channels) even if the sound is off. The channels are often chosen by someone who isn’t considering impact on people with sensory differences or people of different ages — TV news is actually a lot for young kids, with a new emotionally charged story every couple of minutes and often sorts of things the child doesn’t really know exist in the world. I know there are movements to get TVs out of medical waiting rooms. It would be nice if they were a purposeful thing everywhere, with TVs on in sports bar sections for people to watch sports, but not the news channels and whatnot in every damn section of every affordable restaurant.
My experience has been that hosts don’t even necessarily know where TVs are located and sometimes aren’t allowed to seat people in a different section based on this preference.