One of the biggest difficulties we often hear about is, “I have trouble hearing my favorite television show.”
Television broadcasts use recording, processing and transmitting techniques that can make understanding speech more difficult for anyone. That speech signal sent over the airways or through your cable system is not the same high-quality signal you hear in real life. In addition, most television sets have relatively small speakers.
The quality of “television speech” is usually good enough for people with normal hearing. However it’s not the same quality as live, face-to-face speech, and it’s often not good enough for people with hearing loss.
The TV you purchase can also have a major role in your ability to hear properly. In order to cut costs and focus more on the resolution of the picture, TV manufacturers have been cutting corners when it comes to the quality of their speakers. Most manufacturers are aware that their customers are investing in sound bars or surround sound systems, causing them to focus on perfecting the visual aspect of the device. Make sure to look at the TV you purchase and locate where the speakers are. It is favorable if they are able to be facing the viewer, rather than facing the backwards or towards the bottom of the television.
Speech clarity and loudness will also vary from channel to channel, from program to program, and from speaker to speaker. We hear the greatest complaints about programs with actors and actresses with unfamiliar accents (e.g. Downton Abbey).
Many people find it easier to watch (and listen to) television using an individual amplifier system. These include inexpensive infrared headsets (such as TV Ears) and wireless systems that transmit the television sound directly to hearing aids. If these aren’t options you are willing to pursue, almost all TV sets have captioning already built in. The written text can be turned on using the remote control.