Fetterman’s use of captions is common in stroke recovery, experts say

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Closed captions are often used by people with auditory processing or hearing issues.

During his first on-camera interview since having a stroke, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman stumbled over words and used closed captioning to read interview questions, prompting Republicans to raise new questions about his health.

Disability advocates, however, say that response shows a lack of understanding about accommodations that are often made after a major health event such as a stroke.

“I sometimes will hear things in a way that’s not perfectly clear,” Fetterman told NBC News, in an interview Friday, which was aired Tuesday. “So I use captioning, so I’m able to see what you’re saying on the captioning.”

While neurological experts said they could not offer a specific diagnosis about Fetterman’s health, they noted that closed captions are a common tool for people with auditory processing or hearing issues, conditions which have nothing to do with overall intelligence.

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