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Audible to release captions for audiobooks

captions for audiobooks
While Netflix, YouTube and TV have increased captioning awareness and accessibility, one form of media that hasn’t been accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community, as of yet, is audiobooks.

This, however, is about to change.

Audible, Amazon’s audiobook company, says it had plans to release captions for audiobooks.

Soon, Audible customers will receive access to captions on any audiobook they choose. In addition to the captions, they’ll be able to highlight words, and look up definitions and language translations. All this will be able to be done through the Audible app.

Captions for audiobooks

This caption feature, which is expected to be released in an upgrade that is in time for school to start, was originally released to benefit students.

“We know from years and years of work, that parents and educators, in particular, understand that an audio experience of well-composed words is really important in developing learners,” says Audible Chief Executive Donald Katz in the Los Angeles Times.

However, while this feature was created with students in mind, it will largely benefit the deaf community too. Until this point, the deaf and hard of hearing community have not had any access to audiobooks.

Deaf actor and activist, Nyle DiMarco, recently posted a sarcastic tweet about the issue on Twitter.


This feature, however, would open up new doors to accessibility.

Increasing accessibility

As technology advances, accessibility is slowly starting to increase. Google, Amazon, Skype and Microsoft have been making efforts to be more accessible. Google, Skype, and Microsoft also offer live captioning.

Amazon’s Alexa even allows people to type out their commands or questions. It also has transcripts that are available.

Read more: Microsoft, Skype, and Alexa aim to be more accessible to the deaf

What about podcasts?

With audiobooks checked off the accessibility transformation, the deaf community is still waiting on podcasts to be more accessible. While some podcasts offer transcripts, it is not as widespread as it could be.

Read more: Podcasts: The last frontier of accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people

What do you think? How can we made audio books and podcasts more accessible? Would you use captions for audiobooks?

Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill Blocker von Bueren and Lisa Goldstein.