Cinemark to add devices for people with hearing disabilities

Americas, July 30 2012

Theater operator Cinemark Holdings Inc. has agreed to offer new assistive devices to moviegoers with hearing disabilities under a settlement of a civil-rights lawsuit filed by the state.

Cinemark logoThe agreement, which settles a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Tom Horne in June 2011, requires Cinemark to offer special neck loops and receivers at its six Arizona theaters, including four in the Tucson area.

Cinemark, based in Plano, Texas, has offered over-the-ear amplifying devices but, unlike the neck-loop receivers, they don’t work work for patrons with cochlear implants or hearing aids with so-called T-coil technology, the attorney general said.

Together with closed-captioned devices offered by Cinemark, the company now offers offers a full range of devices for hearing-impaired and deaf patrons, Horne said in a news release, commending Cinemark for its cooperation.

The Cinemark theaters involved are the Century 20 El Con, Century Gateway 12, Century Park Place 20 and XD in Tucson; Century Theatres at Oro Valley Marketplace; Cinemark 10 in Sierra Vista, and Cinemark Mesa 16.

Cinemark also agreed to track demand and provide more neck loops, if necessary, and to train workers and advertise the new devices.

Cinemark isn’t the first Arizona theater operator to add assistive equipment after being sued for discrimination.

In 2009, AMC Multi-Cinema Inc. agreed to retrofit some of its auditoriums with digital captioning and “narrative description” technology, to help people with hearing and vision disabilities.

And after losing a court battle last year, Scottsdale-based Harkins Theatres agreed to install similar equipment in half its Arizona theaters, including the Spectrum 18 cinema on Tucson’s south side.


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