The Possibility and Challenges for Deaf-Blind Individuals to Enjoy Films in Theater
Sawako Nakajima*1, Naoyuki Okochi*2, Naoko Iizumi*3, Motohiko Tsuru*4, Kazutaka Mitobe*1, and Tetsujiro Yamagami*5
*1Graduate School of Engineering Science, Akita University
1-1 Tegatagakuen-machi, Akita-city, Akita 010-8502, Japan
*2Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo
4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan
*3Department of Advanced Studies in Anthropology, National Museum of Ethnology
10-1 Senri Expo Park, Suita, Osaka 565-8511, Japan
*4Social Welfare Corporation, Yuukari
1005 Okanohara-cho, Kagoshima-city, Kagoshima 891-1201, Japan
*5Media Access Support Center, NPO
2-9-1 Chuo, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0011, Japan
In recent times, the use of subtitles and audio descriptions in movies for individuals with either hearing or visual impairment and the need to develop systems to provide these have been realized. However, even the need and possibility for deaf-blind individuals to enjoy movies have not been discussed yet. This study created an environment for deaf-blind individuals to “watch” a film, and conducted a screening of feature-length films with subtitles and audio descriptions. Interviews of 26 deaf-blind individuals indicated that 56% had watched films in a theater after becoming deaf-blind and before the screening session. When watching the films, 26.9% of participants used individual monitoring devices, headphones, or other conventional video or audio equipment. Furthermore, 50% were able to use either subtitles or audio descriptions. Regardless of their impairment conditions, participants responded positively towards watching the film in the screening session. Among the deaf-blind, 42.1% of the partially sighted and deaf, blind and hard of hearing, and partially sighted and hard of hearing individuals appreciated a special aspect of the theater, i.e., “sharing an opportunity and communication with others.”
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