It’s a familiar scene across the nation, after a busy day you sit down to relax and watch a bit of TV. But oh my goodness: – actors mumble, regional or even international accents are more prevalent, background music crashes into every scene, even Newsreaders cut away to graphics making it more and more difficult to hear what’s actually being said. So you increase the volume. Only this doesn’t make things clearer, just louder to the point where other family members complain the sound is too loud or the adverts come blaring on and blast you out of your seat! Or are you left resorting to subtitles to following the action? Sound familiar?
So what’s going on with the sound from televisions? Why are so many people struggling to hear clearly and more importantly, what can be done about it?
Some of the difficulty lies with the recording of TV sound and the style of acting now more common on TV. In years gone by Actors would deliver lines directly to the camera or directly to another actor, allowing for a good view of the face of the speaker, projecting their voices, with little or no competing noise in the form of background noise or music. Regional accents were rare (think back to BBC English!) the style of delivery was more like a theatrical production. Nowadays actors talk to each other often in soft voices looking away from the camera or moving away as they speak, often with atmospheric music or background noise. Yes this is a more naturalistic style of acting helping to increase atmosphere and helping the viewer to feel included – IF they can decipher what is being said.
Further fault lies with TV technology itself. Whilst screens have improved in recent years and pictures are sharper, brighter and better than ever, can the same be said for the sound? Flat screen TVs often have very small speakers often at the bottom of the screen that end up directing sound down towards the floor rather than out towards the listener. Televisions have become cheaper over the years and it is a fact that cheaper TV systems will not have the same quality of sound output as a more advanced system. The more you can control your sound system, with adjustable bass levels and a background noise reduction system, for example, the better you will be able to hear what is being said.
Finally, are your ears up to the job? Hearing loss, even a mild hearing loss can have a big impact on your ability to follow conversation on the TV. So is it really JUST the TV you are struggling to hear? A simple hearing test could either put your mind at rest or direct you to further help.
rather than replace the TV itself why not look to upgrade the sound system by adding either a surround sound system or a sound bar. A sound bar is the easiest way of improving the sound on your existing TV. They take up very little space and are easy to set up. Get one with a subwoofer for a cinematic surround effect. A surround sound system is a system of different speakers that are positioned around the room.
TV earphones and headphones: –
For people who don’t wear hearing aids another option (and the cheapest) is to consider TV earphones or headphones. These devices are simple-to-use devices consisting of a transmitting base that plugs directly into your television’s headphone jack and a headset worn by the listener. There are controls on the headset so wearers may adjust the volume and tone of the sound delivered to their ears.
Hearing Aids: –
If it is discovered that hearing loss is the cause of your difficulties there are many advanced hearing aids that can help to make sound clearer in a whole range of situation including the TV. Sometimes a hearing aid itself is enough to solve the problem.
If you already wear a hearing aid or are considering getting some hearing aids ask your hearing healthcare professional to set up a dedicated programme for television in your hearing aids or ask about the various streaming devices that are available to work in conjunction with the hearing aids.
Induction Loops: –
An induction loop, or neckloop, sets up a magnetic field that can be picked up by the telecoil in your hearing aids. A base unit or small microphone is attached to the TV and a loop is worn around the neck to transmit the sound direct to the telecoil of the hearing aids, by passing any environmental background noise and filtering sound through the hearing aid settings that are personalized for your hearing loss.
Bluetooth and FM systems (Streaming devices):-
Most modern hearing aids have the ability to connect to devices wirelessly through FM systems or Bluetooth connections some will require an intermediary device and some will stream direct. For those requiring an intermediary device this can also act as a remote control for the hearing aids allowing you to adjust the volume and listening programme with the same device.
Bluetooth connectivity is increasingly being included as standard in modern hearing aids to improve listening with both television and smartphones. Once the hearing aids are programmed to pair with desired device you can stream sound wirelessly to the hearing aids.
In conclusion, there are many options to help improve the sound of the TV so why miss out? If you need any further advice or assistance do not hesitate to contact us.