Closed captioning to aid hard-of-hearing at live events

By Allison Krecek

When the football crowd is screaming its lungs out it can be difficult for anyone to hear what’s going on, and students are looking to change that with a closed captioning service.

Taylor Hartman, graduate rehabilitation counseling program student, is part of a group that goes to events around school and closed captions them. By going to the group’s website,, students can get a live feed of what’s happening at events on campus.

“If they want to know what the announcers are saying or the play by play, whatever happens during the game, they can load it up on their phone,” Hartman said.

Closed captions was designed for those who are deaf or have hearing loss. With NIU’s closed captioning, students with a hearing disability can go to games and events and have their phones tell them what’s going on. Hartman believes the service can be used by more than just those with hearing disabilities.

“Almost everybody has been to a football game, and they know how loud it gets, and it’s really hard to hear what’s going on,” Hartman said. “So this is a focus for any student, fan, alumni, young people that don’t know what’s going on from all the noise, so they can pull it up on their phone and follow it.”

While the website is still relatively new, some students are already following the service. DeafPride member Katerine Davila, senior rehab service major, loves the concept of it.

“It’s beneficial to those who have a hearing loss or those who are older because it’s very loud at games,” Davila said. “It can also help other people in general who have a learning disability and actually need to read text.”

Other members of DeafPride, like treasurer Molly Lamansky, junior speech language pathology major, and DeafPride member Abbie Paulson, senior rehab services and communication disorders major, agree with Davila.

Lamansky thinks the service can help those with learning disabilities and also get them to go to more Athletics events.

“It’s a good idea because it allows more people to be involved in everything in school and not just deaf pride stuff,” Lamansky said. “I think this will help bring the community and everybody on campus together.”

Hartman hopes to promote more awareness for the website so bugs can be fixed and organizers can improve it. Davila thinks the website will also bring more awareness to the school.

“I just think that not everyone realizes that there are deaf students on campus, and closed captioning benefits not only just deaf people, but people who have a hearing loss of any sort, or older people at games can use the closed captioning to know what’s going on,” Davila said.