EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The movie theater can make for a relaxing night out or a distraction from daily routines, but for some, that's not possible.
Two area movie theaters are trying to change that, with new technology to help people who have a hard time hearing or seeing.
With the holiday season on its way, Micon Cinemas in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls is hoping to not just sell tickets but to bring back a crowd unable to fully enjoy what they've had to offer.
“There's a group of people, the hard of hearing or hard of seeing that weren't be able to go to movies or didn't enjoy them in the past, so we hope we can entertain those people,” Micon Cinemas Manager Dan Olson said.
Following a demonstration Thursday, with funding from Miracle Ear, new and upgraded equipment allows more people to hear and see what's happening on the silver screen.
“There's a slot where you can actually make it go to a narration mode for people who are visually impaired. So they necessarily can't see what's going on, but they can still hear what's going on,” Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce Ambassador President Bill Sparkes said.
“If somebody is really hard of hearing or can't hear at all, they'll be able to put the captions on a piece that will set into the cup holder then we also have that caption technology also in a pair of glasses that they can wear. The captions will be sent right to the glasses,” Olson said.
“This technology really reduces those barriers and creates opportunities for them to become more comfortable and also create a more full experience, Eau Claire Miracle Ear owner Scott Lau said. “Creating opportunities for the hearing impaired is good for everyone.”
“We want everybody in the family to be able to come out and have a good time at the movies, understand the movies, what's going on, be able to hear them and see them, so this is just one more step in making that happen,” Olson said.
The audio and visual options are free and available to anyone by request at Micon Cinemas in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Olson said.