Hearing Loss & Beyond — A New Captioning Tool in Chrome

Like everyone else, I have spent a lot of time on the Internet during the pandemic. Whether it’s researching blog posts, streaming YouTube videos or visiting social media sites, I am often frustrated, because the audio and video content I find does not have captions. Because of my hearing loss, this makes it hard for me to follow along.

But lately, captions seem to be catching on!

Advertisers and content creators are beginning to realize the many benefits of captioning, including increased viewership. Social media sites like TikTok are making their platforms more accessible. Even Zoom finally promised to expand its excellent auto-captions to free accounts beginning in the Fall. (If you need access earlier for accessibility reasons, request it here.)

And now captions have come to the Chrome browser.

Google’s Live Caption Brings Auto-Captions to the Chrome Browser

Google recently launched Live Caption, a feature that provides auto-captions for all English language media content viewed in the Chrome browser. It works across social and video sites, on podcasts and radio content, and even on personal videos. It works on all types of computers — even Macs — as well as on Android mobile devices.

Once enabled in settings, a caption window pops up at the bottom of the screen whenever there is audio or video content. You can reposition the window by dragging and dropping or dismiss it by clicking the x on the upper right corner. 

As with any auto-generated captions, there are errors, but in most cases, I found the captions to be well-synced and accurate. They even beat CNN’s own real-time captions for speed and accuracy in one of my tests. Accuracy and speed will only improve as the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm is refined.

Turning Live Caption On Is Easy

Chrome was never my default browser, but now that I keep copying links of un-captioned content into Chrome to watch them, I may need to make the shift. Live Caption is easy to enable in the Chrome browser settings under Advanced, then Accessibility. Toggle the switch on and you are ready to go.

Captions Benefit Everyone

We all know that captions benefit people with hearing loss, as well as people watching videos in their non-native language, children and adults learning to read and people with audio processing differences. But more than 100 empirical studies demonstrate that captioned content benefits everyone else too.

Hearing loss or not, captions improve video comprehension as measured by

  • higher rates of recalling facts
  • drawing inferences
  • defining words, and
  • summarizing main ideas.

People also spend more time paying attention to captioned content. And captions make it easier to watch on mute, which most people on social media do.

These benefits create business reasons other than pure accessibility for all content to be captioned. More captioning not only creates better access for people with hearing loss — it make communication easier for everyone.

Captions Quality Standards are Needed

To be effective, captions must be accurate and well-synced with the audio. Ongoing advocacy is needed to help set and enforce quality captioning standards universally, irrespective of the delivery method. Good results will benefit us all.

Readers, have you tried Live Caption in the Chrome browser?

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35 thoughts on “Hearing Loss & Beyond — A New Captioning Tool in Chrome

  1. Susan Berger – Blogging is one big experiment for me. Will it work? Who knows. I'll link websites that have published my essays and maybe I'll write original posts. My topics will be observations, points of view and life as I see it. I'm still marinating...
    Susan Berger says:

    Yes! I’ve been using it and it’s truly a huge help. I can now listen to podcasts and videos which do not have their own captioning. Game changer. Shari, if you are ever informed, please let us know the date when Zoom plans to launch fall access. It sounds like it can happen anytime within a few months span and that can be after the school year begins.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I am glad it is working well for you. I checked in with Zoom yesterday and they had no timing update to share, but I will keep asking! Thanks for your comment.

  2. bluereadergal – This blog will be about books. Who does not like books? I have always loved books. Reading allows you to travel to whole new worlds. Everyone should read. I will cover whatever books captures my attention and share it with the world. Books, stories, and libraries are amazing!
    bluereadergal says:

    This is awesome! I just tried it out and it helps out a great deal. So amazing!!!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      So glad it is helpful for you! Thanks for your comment.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Excellent! Let us know how it works for you.

  3. Captions are great but I am not personally ready to accept that I need captions, not while I am still doing reasonably well with my hearing aids. I see giving into captions as meaning I am giving up on my capacity to hear. I instead am working hard to improve my word recognition and always researching for better hearing aids. If I live long enough I will have to give in to captions. But at 73 and with a severe cookie bite hearing loss I still have well over 80% word recognition with hearing ads. I am every day doing my on therapy to improve on that.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I am glad that your hearing aids are working well for you. I don’t think of it as giving in, but rather as easing the listening effort to maintain energy and enthusiasm. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  4. Susan Berger – Blogging is one big experiment for me. Will it work? Who knows. I'll link websites that have published my essays and maybe I'll write original posts. My topics will be observations, points of view and life as I see it. I'm still marinating...
    Susan Berger says:

    It’s wonderful you still have 80% word recognition! I understand what you are saying though. Please consider that using captioning is not “giving in” but helping our brains recognize words which in turn helps keep our brains healthy. Cognitive decline is a big concern for us with HL.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I agree. I think of captions as an additional tool to lower listening effort. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Great! Let me know how it works for you. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Excellent! Thanks for sharing.

  5. By the way, neither of my young adult children are hearing impaired, and they still use captions to enhance their streaming experience. Living with a hearing impaired mom meant they got used to it. When they were little, I set the captions on their favorite television programs so they could both SEE a word and HEAR a word. Captioning is a terrific early learning-to-read tool, and it is so helpful for ESL students as well. Anything that makes hearing easier is fine by me.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I agree. Captions benefit everyone! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for your question. You need to be in the Chrome browser on the Internet. It is not an App. Here is the link to download the browser. https://www.google.com/chrome/

  6. Wonderfull!
    First try, have questions:
    1. I accidentaly hit “X” to turn the Live Caption off, then how do I turn the Live Caption back on?
    2. I did go Caption Preferences at Settings try to set the font size larger. But it doesn’t seem make Live Caption text larger?

    Thanks

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I believe it will pop back up the next time a video plays. On the font size, I am not sure. Keep experimenting, but I am glad it is working for you!

  7. I have Google Chrome on my home computer, but didn’t see the “Accessibility” option to activate the “Live Caption.” Could my version of Google Chrome be the problem? Please advise. Thank you.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Possibly. I suggest updating your browser and trying again. Here is a link with more information on how to do that. Good luck! https://www.google.com/chrome/update/

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      You can download it using these instructions, but I believe Live Caption only works on Mac computers in the chrome browser. It does work on Android phones. https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95346?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform=iOS

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Try this link. It should take you to the accessibility settings. chrome://settings/accessibility

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Copy the link into the Chrome browser and it should work. That is what I did and it worked for me. Good luck!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Maybe check that you saved the new settings in Chrome. Or restart your computer. That often fixes things. Other than that, I’m not sure. Did it work on other videos?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Great!

  8. I used it yesterday for the first time as I streamed Sunday church service. It was excellent, and better even than the built-in YouTube captions. On my laptop, there appeared a music note icon that I clicked, and Voila! Captions! I can grab and drag the caption box to anywhere on the screen that works for that video. Since it’s now active on my Chrome browser, I noticed that as I worked at my desktop PC today, I’ve got automatic captions without having to do anything. Thank you, Shari!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      I am so glad it is working well for you! Thanks for your comment.

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