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Most people like to be able to sit back and enjoy a good television program every once in a while. You might enjoy watching a segment on science experiments on a daytime talk show or have a favorite prime time program that's full of cliffhangers and great drama. Those that are hearing impaired want to have the ability to enjoy these programs just as much as everyone else. This is why closed captioning was created.
Closed captioning is embedded into everyone's television signal but it only shows up on the screen when you apply a special decoder. You might see it used on the television in the waiting room of your physician or at the airport where it's not possible to put on the sound. Or it is used by people at home who might need some help hearing and understanding the program that they are attempting to view. For the past eighteen years, it has been mandatory that every television set that is larger than thirteen inches to have a decoder for closed captioning included in the model.
When you're watching a weekly program about nature or a group of cops in Las Vegas, it's likely that the captions were done well in advance of the episode airing using the script for that show. Someone would simply type out everything that the people on the screen are saying and then add in things like important sound effects and dialogue that is being spoken off camera. The idea is to add in all of the sounds that you would hear sitting around your house if you were able to just watch the program without any assistance.
You might also want to watch a live broadcast with closed captioning. In this case there is not going to be a script to layout what is going to be said or done. In that case, there is usually a stenographer who is typing out all of the dialogue and sounds and they air a few seconds after the fact. If you're working with a not so quietly running to watch a presidential address or you're watching breaking news at home then this is likely how the closed captioning is done.
One of the things that people with some sort of disability would like outsiders to know is that their lives are more about finding different ways of doing things rather than not being able to do them at all. Closed captioning is just another way of enjoying the programs that are on television on a daily basis. There are also programs available for those that are visually impaired.