What is Audio Description for Blind and Visually Impaired People? A Way to Enjoy Movies and Shows

Have you ever wondered how blind people can enjoy movies and shows when they can’t see the visuals? Well, that’s where audio description comes in! It’s like having a helpful friend who whispers in your ear, telling you all the important stuff you can’t see. Let’s find out more about this cool feature that makes movies and shows accessible to blind individuals.

What is Audio Description?

Audio description (also known as “descriptive audio” or “video description”) is an accessibility service designed to provide a verbal explanation of the scenes of movies, TV shows, and even live performances. It’s made for blind people, and it helps them “see” what’s happening on the screen or stage through words. Imagine someone telling you in simple terms what’s happening, how the characters look, where they are, and what they’re doing. That’s exactly what audio description does!

According to a survey conducted by the American Council of the Blind on the usage and availability of audio description, 91% of respondents reported listening to audio description in the past, with 69.7% being blind, 21.1% visually impaired, and 8.2% sighted. 75.3% of respondents strongly agree that a greater amount of audio-described programming is needed. Almost half (45%) have difficulty in finding programs with audio description.

How Audio Description Works

To create audio descriptions, experts work together with writers and voice actors. They watch the movie or show carefully and come up with descriptions that fit into the gaps between the dialogues. The descriptions are added as a separate option, so blind viewers can listen to them along with the regular sound.

For example, in a movie, during a scene where the main character is walking through a lush forest, the audio describer might say, “The protagonist strolls through a vibrant green forest, surrounded by tall trees and the sounds of chirping birds.”

If you go to a live play or show, you’ll get the audio description through a special headset. This way, you can enjoy the show just like anyone else, even without seeing it.

Where to Look for Audio Description

Finding movies, TV shows, or theater performances with audio description is becoming easier due to growing awareness about accessibility. Here are some places where you can look for audio-described content:

1. Streaming Platforms: Major streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ have been steadily increasing their library of audio-described content.

2. DVDs and Blu-rays: Many DVDs and Blu-rays now come with an audio description track that you can choose from the settings menu.

3. Theaters and Live Performances: Some theaters and venues offer audio description services for their live shows. You can inquire with the theater staff beforehand or check their websites for availability.

The Benefits of Audio Description

Audio description has made a big difference in the lives of blind people. Here’s how:

• Enjoying Movies and Shows: Thanks to audio description, blind individuals can have fun watching movies and shows with their friends and family. They won’t miss out on the action and excitement!

• Understanding Better: With audio description, blind viewers can follow the story easily. They get to know the characters, their emotions, and the cool scenes they can’t see.

• Learning New Things: It’s not just about entertainment. Audio description also helps blind students learn by describing educational videos and museum exhibits.

• Having a Great Theater Experience: When blind people attend plays or theater performances, audio description lets them know what’s happening on the stage, making the experience awesome!

• Being Independent: With audio description available on devices and streaming services, blind people can watch shows and movies whenever they want, without needing someone else to explain what’s going on.


Audio description helps blind and visually impaired people enjoy movies, TV shows, and theater. It makes visual content accessible to them by providing verbal explanations of what’s happening on screen. By supporting and using audio description, we can create a more inclusive and empathetic society, enriching everyone’s understanding of diverse experiences.

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