I’ve watched movies and TV shows without subtitles for most of my life. Only recently in the past 2 years, have I started watching things subtitled. For me, I feel like I can get a greater understanding of the show as whole by reading subtitles. Some things that might be hard to hear, (whispers, low tone) is where subtitles shine; there’s no misunderstandings of what is heard, and also somehow makes me feel like I hear better?
After watching plenty of subtitled shows and movies, I started to wonder if consistently watching subtitles would somehow negatively affect your hearing. I’ve seen Memes in the past stating “can’t hear without subtitles” and “I wish subtitles were in real life”. Those posts inspired me research into the subject. Unfortunately, proper research hasn’t yet been done on the subject.
Subtitles do make words easier to hear. According to the National Institute of Deafness, hearing is influenced by our expectations. While that is interesting, it doesn’t specifically relate to hearing over time with consistent use of subtitles.
It’s up to our interpretation to find the answer to the question of if subtitles negatively affect our hearing. Or, if something even happens in the brain to have a slower reaction time to information? It’s only a thought for now, until researchers decide it’s worth looking into. This brings me to my argument: The Subtitled Argument.
The Subtitled Argument
Sam spent his whole life watching TV with subtitles on. Every piece of content he’s ever consumed has been subtitled. If subtitles were to never be seen again, will Sam’s hearing be affected because of it?