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Hearing Blog

Understanding TV better

January 8, 2024

Patients’ needs are unique.  Hearing loss affects everyone differently.  We must dig deep into the needs and wants of patients to yield positive results when correcting their hearing loss.  Many motivators push people to take steps toward better hearing.  The need and want to understand TV better is mentioned by almost every patient who comes in for a hearing consultation. 

Wearing hearing instruments will improve your TV listening experience.  However, several variables cause problems with receiving a clear speech signal.  New flat-screen televisions have little speakers that typically have poor projection.  Often, these speakers 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 high ceilings with tile, wood, or laminate floors just add extraneous sounds.  There are a couple of 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…that pretty much leaves the news or documentaries. 

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 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 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 patients cannot 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.   We have them available for demonstration if you are curious.  Remember to nourish your brain with sound only have keep it sharp and healthy as long as possible. 

To Hear Better Is To Live Better!!



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