There's No Business Like Show Business

Australian cinemas have had captioning technology since 2001 and audio descriptions since 2009, thanks to the ‘Helping Older Australians Enjoy the Movies: Accessible Cinema’ scheme.This scheme was followed in 2010 by the ‘Cinema Access Implementation Plan’, which saw our cinema chains implement accessible sessions as they converted to digital cinema.

Beyond the cinemas doing their part, there’s also the simple fact that movies are louder than everyday life. When it comes to sound intensity, most conversations are around 60–70 decibels (dB), while movies generally are between 74 and 104 dB.2 This loudness means you might not even need your hearing aids at the cinema.

If you're concerned about your hearing aids in the cinema, see your hearing care professional for advice.

Assistance For Those Who Need It

If you need more than a simple increase in volume, then cinemas may offer assistive technologies, including:

  • Open captions: displayed on-screen.
  • Closed caption: transmitted to a personal device.
  • FM systems: compatible with hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  • Induction loops: transmitting sound directly to an aid or implant with a telecoil (T-coil).
  • Apps: to transmit sound from your mobile device to your hearing aid.
  • Infrared technology: transmitting an IR signal to a receiver worn by the user.3

What's Available In Australia?

When it comes to Australian cinema chains, the good news is that assistance is broadly available:

  • Event Cinemas offers closed caption sessions (CC), infrared systems and hearing aid loops.4
  • HOYTS offer open caption (OC) and closed caption (CC) sessions.5
  • Palace Cinemas offer audio description (AD) devices and closed caption (CC) sessions.6
  • Dendy Cinemas provide audio description (AD) headsets using IR technology and closed caption (CC) sessions.7
  • Other independent cinemas, including Wallis Cinemas in SA, and Luna Palace Cinema, also offer assistive technologies.8
Also available across Australia are local Connect Hearing clinics. Whether you're a cinephile, an occasional visitor, or even a stay-at-home viewer, why not visit a clinic to get your hearing checked?


  1. Media Access Australia [n.d.], Access to cinema, Media Access Australia, accessed 18 April 2024.
  2. Northeastern Global News [26 May 2022], Seeing just one movie in the theatre could damage your hearing, Northeastern University, accessed 8 May 2024.
  3. Nagish [8 September 2023], Advances in Assistive Listening Technology for Movie Theaters, Nagish, accessed 8 April 2024.
  4. Event Cinemas Australia, What options are available for hearing impairments?, Event Cinemas Australia, accessed 19 April 2024.
  5. HOYTS [n.d.], Accessibility, HOYTS, accessed 19 April 2024.
  6. Palace Cinemas [n.d.], Audio description and closed caption, Palace Cinemas, accessed 19 April 2024.
  7. Dendy Cinemas [n.d.], Accessible Cinema, Dendy/Icon group, accessed 19 April 2024.
  8. Independent Cinemas Australia [n.d.], Accessible Independent Cinemas, Independent Cinemas Australia, accessed 19 April 2024.