Are You Including Captions and Subtitles in Your Videos?


Why text plus visuals is a must in your patient education content

You may not think twice about captions or subtitles in videos.  But adding text to your patient education video content has a number of benefits, including making it more accessible to patients with hearing loss and other disabilities and non-native speakers. Captions also boost SEO and improve patient engagement and health literacy. Here’s why you should include text in your videos, and a new Rendia feature that can help.


To ensure accessibility

Many people assume that captions and subtitles are only for people with hearing issues. And, yes, it is a good idea to make your content accessible to the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, including 1 in 3 people over age 65. First, though, it’s important to understand the differences between captions and subtitles. According to video production agency Early Light Media: 


  • Are timed text shown on screen (e.g., on TV, YouTube, etc.) used to communicate spoken content and sound effects as the video plays.
  • Can be open or closed. Closed captions are separately uploaded files, can be turned on and off, and are searchable. Open captions are edited into the video and can’t be turned off. 


  • Are translations for people who don’t speak the language in the video (e.g., foreign films).
  • Assume the viewer hears the audio.

Captions and subtitles make your videos accessible to the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, and also solve problems such as poor audio quality and noisy environments.

Captions and subtitles also solve all kinds of problems including poor audio quality, low volume and noisy environments. Many people can’t or don’t turn on the sound on videos. One study showed that 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute

And lastly, time-stamped closed captions allow for search engines to index video content, boosting video SEO, according to Early Light Media, which recommends using both captions and subtitles in your videos. “If you are spending the time, effort, and money it takes to create videos, you want to make sure you are getting the highest return on your investment possible.”


For learning and engagement

A study on learning experiences in higher education asked 2,000 students, some with disabilities and some without, how often they use closed captions when available on course videos. Regardless of whether they had a disability of any kind, a majority of students used closed captions at least some of the time, and about 90% of all students who used closed captions found them helpful for learning. Specific ways closed captions facilitate learning include: 

  • Comprehension: More than 50% of respondents mentioned how captions help them understand, organize and learn the information in videos.
  • Accuracy: More than one third of respondents said captions in videos help with details, terminology and spelling.
  • Engagement and retention: More than 20% said captions help help them focus on the content of videos and over 14% said captions help them retain information in the videos.

A study found that a majority of college students, with and without disabilities, used closed captions at least some of the time, and about 90% found captions helpful for learning.

It makes sense that captions would have the same benefits for patients — even more so because stress or anxiety in medical settings is common and can make it more difficult to understand and remember information.


Customize audio playback and subtitles in Rendia  

Rendia has made it easier to share educational and accessible videos with all your patients. We have a new feature that allows our customers to send videos with customized audio and subtitles. So if you have a patient who speaks Spanish, you can now send them Rendia videos in Spanish, and send the same video to your English-speaking patients in English. The feature works the same with captions.

Rendia has a new feature that allows users to customize our videos’ audio and subtitles by language, helping you better serve patients. 

A recent study showed that videos help with health literacy, and are frequently shared with others, such as spouses or caregivers. In an assessment of video radiology reports, nearly 400 videos were opened more than once, with some videos getting up to 19 views, researchers reported. Patients rated their understanding of the reports a 4.7 out of 5, and 91% of patients said having both a written report and a video was helpful.

Studies have also shown that subtitles can increase the amount of time that a user spends watching a video by almost 40%. In videos with subtitles, 80% more people watched the entire video

It’s clear that video content is superior for patient education, and including captions and subtitles helps that content go even further. Download our Health Literacy eBook to learn about how catering to different health literacy levels can positively impact patient outcomes. 

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