+the news
Deaf Marlee Matlin rallies for theater changes

Deaf actress Marlee Matlin has urged cinema bosses to do more to make films accessible for customers with hearing disabilities.

The Oscar winner, who has been deaf since she was 18 months old, admits trips to the theater are a nightmare for her family because there are never closed caption screenings in her local area.

In a column for the Chicago Sun-Times, she writes, "Traditionally, the film studios trot out their big movies (in the summer) to take advantage of all the kids and families looking for something to do. But for 35 million Americans like me who are deaf and hard of hearing, going to see a blockbuster like Men in Black 3 (sic) isn't quite so simple...

"More than likely, I'll end up watching Will Smith shoot aliens silently while doing my best to figure out what's going on, just like I've done countless times before. This is the summer dilemma for millions of Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing."

Matlin, the spokesperson for America's National Association of the Deaf, is calling for executives to roll out special glasses that enable deaf moviegoers to enjoy blockbusters with general audiences.

She adds, "The technology is there; Sony... provides what are called Access Glasses - a wi-fi pair of specs that show subtitles in the glasses - for any movie playing in digital formats at the theater so as not to interfere with other moviegoers' normal viewing. But Sony is only making 500 pairs a month. At that rate, I might be able to see Men in Black 24 when it comes out in 2019.

"And isn't that a shame? Because not only would it be the right thing to do, it would mean a lot of tickets and $5 popcorn that they could be selling."