Making Television More Enjoyable
Difficulty with television is one of the most common complaints of people with hearing loss. In fact, family members’ complaints about television being too loud are often what make a person seek help.
Once someone gets help, family members are usually happy immediately. The television is no longer driving them out of the family room.
Unfortunately, although television volume may now be lower, hearing difficulties often remain. Difficulty understanding speech on television remains one of the most common complaints of hearing aid users.
And watching television is a very important activity, especially in the over 65 age group. This group watches an average of six hours of TV a day.
Why is TV such a challenge?
Rate: Televised speech is often twice as fast as normal conversation, making it much more difficult to understand.
Variety of speakers: There are often several different speakers on the same program, some who are easy to understand, and some who are not.
Background noise: Interfering noise can come from the television program itself (including background music) and from the viewer’s home.
The sound system: Televisions usually have small speakers and the sound quality may not be ideal. Some people understand televised speech better when they turn off the “stereo” setting.
Making TV more enjoyable
There are several ways to improve television viewing. These include closed captioning and augmentative systems.
Closed captioning allows you to see written text displayed on the television screen. It’s turned on using the menu button on your TV remote. Although reading every word isn’t necessary, many people don’t like reading while watching television.
Augmentative systems transmit the sound directly to the viewer.These systems include direct loop, infrared, and a recent development, wireless Bluetooth connection.
With direct loop, a thin wire is connected to the TV set and placed around the room. The hearing aid user puts his or her hearing aid settings on “T” (telecoil) and the TV sound is received directly at the hearing aids.
Infrared and RF (radio frequency) systems convert the TV sound to light or radio waves and transmit them to the viewer, who wears a lightweight headset. This system is used in many theaters.
Bluetooth is a recent development in hearing aids. An adapter wirelessly transmits sound from the television to hearing aids that are Bluetooth enabled.
A recent study demonstrated the benefits of augmentative systems. Ten hearing aid users listened to television with their hearing aids alone and with an augmentative system (in this case,wireless Bluetooth). The listeners understood twice as much using the augmentative system.
Why are augmentative systems so helpful? These devices allow you to listen at whatever volume you choose (without bothering anyone else) and more importantly, without being affected by room noise.
Copyright 2010 Hearing Healthcare News