Sued by state, Cinemark will equip theaters to serve Arizonans with hearing loss

PHOENIX–Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced last week that his office reached a settlement with a national chain of movie theaters that will improve access for hard-of-hearing patrons in six theaters in that state. The agreement resolves a lawsuit that the state brought against Cinemark Holdings Inc., in June 2011.

Cinemark, which is based in Plano, TX, will equip six of its Arizona theaters with listening devices that hang around a customer’s neck and transmit sound magnetically into hearing aids or cochlear implants. The theater was already providing over-the-ear headsets that amplified sound. However, Horne’s office said some of these did not work with certain hearing aids and implants.

Cinemark also agreed to market the so-called neck loops and train its staff on how to operate them.

Other theater chains in Arizona already provide neckloops, including AMC Foothills and Harkins Theatres in Tucson.

For more on making the movies accessible to those with hearing loss, go to a recent Hearing Views post.