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Streaming for better TV understanding
Posted by Roseann B. Kiefer, BC-HIS on August 21, 2020
There are many motivators that push people to take the steps toward better hearing. The need and want to understand TV better is mentioned by almost every patient that comes in for a hearing consultation.
Wearing hearing instruments will definitely improve your TV listening experience. However; there are several variables that cause problems with receiving a clear speech signal. New flat screen televisions have little speakers that typically have poor projection. Often, these speakers actually point down or to the rear. This causes the sound pressure signal not to travel as far or as clearly as it should be. If your TV is more than about 5 feet away (which it usually is..) then as the sound travels across the room and through the air...the high frequencies fade rapidly. This is a problem, because the high frequencies give us the consonants which provide our speech understanding. Therefore; even with hearing instruments, you may hear mostly background noise and struggle to understand. Large rooms and highs ceilings with tile, wood, or laminate floors just add to extraneous sounds. There are a couple solutions.
Redecorating with wall to wall carpet will provide a much quieter listening environment. Rearranging your furniture to sit closer will help. Watching shows with no background noise....The news is such a “downer”... COVID...COVID...COVID...
The VERY BEST listening experience that you can award yourself for TV is: to ask your Hearing Health Care Provider about how to ‘STREAM’ the sound of the TV directly into your hearing instruments. There are a several options. TV Streaming Devices must be compatible with your specific brand of hearing instruments. These devices plug easily into your TV and will wirelessly/Bluetooth send the sound up to about 30 feet into your hearing instruments. It is like having a headset connected to your TV. Others can adjust the volume of the tv as they normally would... you have your own perfect setting.
Because they plug directly into your TV... they bypass the speakers and give a true digital reproduction of sound. (No distortion from the speakers). If our patient can not hook them up then our office will come out and do it for them. It only takes us about 10 minutes. With the TV ‘streaming’ into your hearing aids; you won’t hear the air conditioner when it kicks on. The dishwasher making noise in the background can be eliminated... it is a beautiful thing.
There are also remote microphones that can be placed in front of the TV speakers that will work similarly... however; the quality of the sound can be altered somewhat by the speakers in the TV. If you have an Apple ™ iPhone and a compatible hearing instrument then there is a simple way to make your phone act as a remote mic. Ask your Hearing Health Care Provider to show you how. Recently, I hooked up a Starkey TV Streamer on Barbara’s TV. Her words... “This.. is.. just Wonderful!” We have them available for demonstration if you are curious. Remember to nourish your brain with proper sound stimulation...you only have one...so keep it sharp and healthy as long as possible.
To Hear Better Is To Live Better!!