Hearing & Balance Doctors

How Can I Hear Better When Watching Television?

Do you have trouble understanding the dialogue on television or in the movies? Do you feel that the background noise and the music overwhelm what is being said? If so, you are not alone.

This is a common sentiment expressed in our clinic. Individuals with a hearing loss often have a difficult time understanding voices in general, and when the voice is embedded in background noise (as often happens on television), it becomes even more difficult. In this article, we will explore some potential solutions to this common problem.

#1 – Make Changes to Your Environment

For example, the physical distance between the television and the listener can affect the quality of the sound: the greater the distance from the television, the poorer the sound quality. Simply sitting closer to the TV can make a difference.

Additionally, hard surfaces and high ceilings can cause sound to reverberate. To reduce reverberation, soft objects, such as curtains, rugs, and pillows, can be added to the room. Also, many flat-panel televisions have poor speaker systems.

Adding a sound system, such as a “soundbar,” can often improve the sound quality.

#2 – Consider Technology

Second, there are wireless Bluetooth headsets that can be connected to the television to improve the ability to hear the dialogue. The first of these headsets came to market years ago and is called TV Ears.

Since that time, many similar products have been released ranging in price from $50 to $300.

They connect wirelessly to the television and allow the listener to have the television volume at a loud level without bothering the other people in the room.

These systems provide excellent ability to hear the television but often prevent the listener from hearing sounds in their environment. These systems can also be a little bit large or awkward.

#3 – Hearing Aid Accessories

Finally, hearing aids and hearing aid accessories can improve the ability to hear the television significantly.

After being fitted with hearing aids, most patients report that the volume on the TV is greatly reduced. Correcting for any underlying hearing loss, hearing aids make the dialogue more audible above the background noise and music.

Most hearing aids can also be programmed to have a specific television setting to help improve speech understanding. Additionally, there are some neat accessories that can improve the ability to hear television even further.

Similar to the wireless Bluetooth headphones discussed above, these accessories connect to the television and can stream the audio directly to an individual’s hearing aids.

Unlike the Bluetooth headphones, when the audio is streamed to hearing aids, there is no bulky headphone involved, and the listener can still be aware of other sounds and conversations in the environment.

Hearing & Balance Doctors Can Help You Optimize Your Hearing

If you or a loved one is struggling to hear and understand the television, we would love to help.

Our clinic is staffed entirely by doctors of audiology and we specialize in personalized care. We take the time to listen to your needs and formulate a customized treatment plan just for you. Give us a call today at (435) 688-8991!

 

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Dr. Ryan Whitaker

Dr. Whitaker joined Hearing & Balance Doctors of Utah in 2009. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brigham Young University in 2005 with his Bachelors of Science in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He then received his Doctor of Audiology from the University of Arizona where he minored in Cognitive Neuroscience (the study of how people perceive sound). While at the University of Arizona, he specialized in evoked potentials, specifically researching Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials and the Acoustic Change Complex. He gained clinical experience at Tucson Ear, Nose, and Throat; St. Joseph’s Hospital Balance Center; Arizona Hearing Specialists; and the Center for Hearing Impaired Children. Dr. Whitaker was raised in Orem, Utah with three older sisters and a younger brother (who is also an audiologist). His grandfather was a cartoonist for the Walt Disney Studios where he drew Donald Duck and many characters in Peter Pan, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland before starting the BYU Motion Picture Studio. Dr. Whitaker is married and has three sons. He is passionate about college football and also enjoys hiking in Southern Utah, reading, and traveling. He has traveled extensively through South Asia including Thailand, India, Nepal, and a church mission to the Philippines.

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