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Leisure and entertainment out of the home

Photo: Leisure and entertainment out of the home

All museums, galleries and entertainment venues should provide systems to help you communicate with their staff – such as a loop system. These systems should be clearly signposted both in the venue and on their websites.

Here we give some top tips and tell you about other products and technologies that you might find helpful when going to the cinema, theatre, museums or galleries.

Top tips

  • Research how accessible the venue is before your visit. Things to look out for might include subtitles, stage text, apps, and loop or neckloop systems.
  • Contact the venue before you go to make them aware that you will want to use their specialist equipment or will be relying on their subtitles.
  • Use social media or the National Deaf Children's Society parents’ forum ‘Parent Place’ to ask other parents about the accessibility of venues for deaf children and young people.
  • Find out when subtitled screenings are taking place at cinemas near you.
At the cinema

Subtitled screenings

Subtitles can help you follow speech, sound effects and background noise in a film. In the UK over 1,000 screenings of subtitled films are shown each week. However these are not usually at peak times so you may need to go to an early or late show. Although most major films are subtitled at the cinema, many less popular films are not. To find out when subtitled screenings are taking place at cinemas near you, contact your local cinema.

Equipment that might be supplied by the cinema

A cinema may have equipment available to help you hear the film better. If you have hearing aids with the T programme set, then you could use a room loop or a neckloop. If you do not use hearing aids, or don’t have the T programme set, then there may be listening products available which can work with headphones, earphones or stetosets.

You might be entitled to apply for a discount card from the UK Cinema Association. This entitles the holder to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema.

At the theatre

Your options are similar to those at the cinema, but you might also want to look out for performances using captioning systems such as Stagetext. This includes the dialogue and sound effects of a performance, similar to cinema subtitles, and the captions are shown on a small screen in your field of view. There may also be performances with live British Sign Language interpreters.

At arts/cultural venues

Many galleries provide audio guides to their exhibitions. An induction neckloop, earhooks or direct input leads can be plugged into the socket where the headphones would normally connect so you might be able to follow the guide.

For tours guided by a member of staff a portable induction loop can be used. Here the guide wears a tie-clip microphone and carries the small unit with them. If you set your hearing aid to the T programme then you will be able to clearly hear the guide as long as you are standing quite close to the loop unit.

Some galleries and museums also provide smartphones or tablet devices with visual information about the exhibits; others might have interactive displays of information. Some museums and galleries even have specially designed apps which you can access on your smartphone or tablet device. These apps can give you a tour of the venue (with subtitles), can give you additional information and can be used before, during and after the visit to add to your enjoyment, learning and understanding.