Imagine watching a film where the sound track is impossible to make out properly.  You can’t follow the plot or appreciate the film, however hard you try.  If all sound tracks are like that, you probably give up going to the cinema, however much you used to love it.

That’s what it can be like to be a filmgoer with hearing loss.  Unless, of course, the film has subtitles!

But how do you know which films have subtitles – or any other technology, which can bring you back into the cinema?

Edinburgh’s Subtitle and Captions Club may be the answer for you. 

A collaboration between the bodies concerned with making better provision and access to the arts and education for those with a hearing loss – Hearing Link, Artlink, WHEC (Wester Hailes Education Centre)  and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse –  have created the Subtitle and Captions Club, which has become part of the Edinburgh City’s Adult Education programme.

Films to be shared are selected from the list of subtitled movies the Filmhouse offer, which can mean that each month there will be a film, or perhaps two, on offer to all members at different times in the week. People who join get notified by email or via text or phone calls to let them know which films have been selected.

The time the club meets depends on when the subtitled films are shown, so meetings are not at a set time every month.

Somebody from WHEC or from Hearing Link meets people in the Filmhouse foyer, (everyone having bought their own ticket in advance) and then all sit together in the cinema. Afterwards people have the option of sitting together in the Guild Room or if it’s quiet, in the Filmhouse Bar to discuss the film and maybe choose the next one!

Ann Thallon, Beryl Homan and Maddi Kent all members of the Subtitles and Captions Club and volunteers with Hearing Link deciding what film to watch at The Filmhouse


One member said:  ‘You know sometimes I would go to a film without subtitles and I would end up with a different story line altogether than my husband who doesn’t have a hearing loss! It can be quite embarrassing and so I stopped bothering to go. This Subtitle and Caption club has made a difference- when I go I can be sure I will understand the same plot as everyone else! We also get a quiet corner to discuss the film and chat with others and find out what else is going on. ‘

Whilst the club is aimed at people with hearing loss, members are welcome to take a hearing partner along with them if they wish.

Yvonne Smith, Cinema Manager at Filmhouse has worked closely with Hearing Link, Artlink and WHEC to improve their hearing access systems for all. She has also helped the group understand more about the equipment they have to borrow and to try them out with helpful, friendly staff support. Filmhouse offers a choice of infra-red and induction loop hearing technology, with audio description tracks included where available and a variety of captioned screenings programmed every month.

You can find out more about the Club on their website.

The cost for a term is £4.50 for those who are fully retired and £2.25 for those who qualify for concessions. For those in employment it is £9.00.

Under the umbrella of Adult Education, some provision has been made to enable people with a hearing  loss to access other adult classes based in the Wester Hailes Education Centre. Staff actively encourage adult tutors to ensure learners hear well in their sessions, with or without ‘comfort contego’ equipment.

For more information contact Beryl Homan 0131 621 8316


Hearing Link is a UK charity for people who have developed any level of hearing loss and their family and friends. It provides information and support and puts them in contact with others who have similar experiences. It aims to give people the knowledge, skills, confidence and contacts so they can more easily manage the practical and emotional challenges that hearing loss brings. For more information please visit or contact the Edinburgh office on 0131 447 9420..