Based on a study conducted by a captioning charity called Stagetext, young people aged 18-25 are almost four times more likely than older viewers to watch TV shows with subtitles, despite having little to no hearing issues. 18% of the respondents aged 56-75 said they are either deaf or hard of hearing. Subtitles were originally intended to aid individuals with hearing problems, but they have become an essential tool for a better viewing experience. Social media users have also gotten used to watching various videos with subtitles. The success of shows like the Squid Game proves that reading subtitles is no longer considered arduous by many.

“I think there’s far more acceptance of subtitles by young people because it’s the norm, whereas with an older age group, it isn’t necessarily the norm,” said Stagetext’s chief executive Melanie Shape, 60. Shape says that she has to be in the mood and needs an extra level of concentration to read subtitles. Moreover, the study found that younger people were more likely to say captions helped them understand what was going on, whereas more older people said they were distracting. “I think young people can take in far more information quickly because they’re used to it,” Shape added. Stagetext is advocating for venues to continue to provide online performances with subtitles and for more live shows to use captions. Nowadays, more and more young directors and designers are producing plays with captions built into the sets as “an integral part of the artistic vision of a piece.”