London, 3 May 2013:  Several leading UK cinema companies – including Odeon, Cineworld and Empire – will this year show their support for National Deaf Awareness Week by increasing their offer of subtitled screenings to deaf or hearing-impaired customers.

National Deaf Awareness Week, which this year runs from 6 – 12 May, is a chance for organisations across the UK to raise awareness and show their support for people with hearing loss.

The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) is the trade association representing the vast majority of UK cinema companies. For the second year running, and with the Association’s encouragement, a number of its largest cinema operator members are supporting National Deaf Awareness Week by increasing their offer to deaf and hard of hearing audiences. The operators will increase the number of subtitled screenings – some by as much as double – available during the week.

The intention is to raise awareness of accessible cinema and to encourage deaf and hard of hearing audiences and their friends and family to come to the cinema and enjoy the big screen experience.

Commenting on the cinemas’ contribution to National Deaf Awareness Week, CEA Senior Policy Executive Dee Davison said:

“National Deaf Awareness Week is a great initiative. It gives businesses the opportunity to promote access for deaf and hard of hearing customers and raise awareness of what they offer, not just during this week, but all year round. We hope that lots of people will take the opportunity to go to more subtitled cinema screenings during this week and perhaps for those who haven’t been to the cinema for a while this is the perfect chance to revisit the big screen.

We’re delighted to be supporting National Deaf Awareness week as part of our ongoing commitment to improving access for all at the cinema.”

Welcoming this development, Dr Roger Wicks, Action on Hearing Loss’s Director of Policy & Campaigns said:

“Action on Hearing Loss campaigns to increase the provision of subtitled screenings in cinemas. We welcome the initiative led by the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association in helping to raise awareness of the barriers that prevent people with a hearing loss from enjoying their cinema experience. Many of the one in six people in the UK with a hearing loss are reliant on subtitles to follow films, so having more subtitled films is important in making the cinema more accessible to everyone.”

Notes for editors

Cinema Exhibitors’ Association

The CEA is the trade body for UK cinema operators, representing the interests of around 90 per cent of UK cinema companies by number and market share. The CEA membership includes single screen/owner managed sites as well as the largest circuit and multiplex operators.

Cinema action on disability and access

The CEA and its members have a long established relationship with national charities representing deaf and hard of hearing customers, including Action on Hearing Loss and the National Deaf Children’s Society. Together with its members, the CEA works with these charities to overcome barriers to access for audiences and positively to promote subtitling in cinema. For instance, the CEA recently produced a UK-wide resource for all of its members to assist in staff training and raise awareness and confidence amongst cinema staff on issues of disability. It also created and screened two trailers in cinemas over the last year which promoted the availability of subtitling to general audiences.

Further information

For further information please contact the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association on