Laura L. Brady, AuD, CCC-A | Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center
Many people with hearing loss struggle to hear and understand the dialogue on television shows. A common comment from loved ones is that the television volume is louder than they prefer. Sadly, this sometimes leads to people isolating to different rooms to watch what they want at a volume that is comfortable.
In particular, we are often told that movies and situation comedies are hard to hear, as well as programs where people speak with an unfamiliar non-native accent. Think about it…actors are speaking to each other (not the camera), and the presence of background noise in the scene certainly can make voices less audible.
Generally, talk shows, news programs, and game shows seem to be easier. This is most likely because the person is directly facing the camera, the person speaking is a “professional speaker”, and there is less background noise in the program.
Here are some tips to ensure you can better hear and understand television programs:
- Wear your hearing aids (if you have them) when you watch television
- Activate the closed captions. Although captions may not be available for every program, if they are, words will appear on your screen, allowing you to “read” and hear what someone said. Captioning is often found in the language preferences setting in your remote control.
- Try a sound bar. Flat screens televisions have notoriously poor sound – sound travels out form the sides and along the wall. A sound bar is an external speaker, usually mounted to the wall under the television. Sound is directed forward to the viewer.
- Try hearing aid accessories. Many hearing aid manufactures have their own dedicated device for television. A transmitter/base connects to your television and sound is streamed directly to your hearing aids with the sound going through your customized hearing aid settings.
- Try Wireless Headphones. These let you enjoy television without disturbing others. Just connect the transmitter/base to your TV, slip on the headphones and enjoy your shows. Many are rechargeable and charge easily on a base. They often can run up to five hours on a single charge – most are compatible with virtually any television, including “Smart” televisions with digital audio output.
Are you struggling to hear the TV? Do you have to turn the volume up very loud? Don’t wait! Evaluate your hearing at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center. For more information or appointments, call 216-231-8787 or visit www.chsc.org.