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Watching TV With Hearing Loss

watching tv with hearing loss

Smart solutions for when you can’t hear the TV but everyone else can

If you have a problem with your hearing, even a mild one, everyday leisure activities such as watching TV with your family can be problematic. You may need to turn the volume up and/or use subtitles which others find intrusive and distracting. And anyway, hearing the voices and music when watching TV is a big part of the experience.

There are an estimated 12 million people in the UK who are deaf or who suffer some form of hearing loss. Fortunately modern technology has come to the rescue. There are now plenty of options that will allow you to enjoy your favourite TV programmes in comfort without irritating the rest of your household.

Connected Hearing Aids
It’s now possible to get Bluetooth®-enabled hearing aids that can connect directly to many compatible mobile phones, TVs and other audio devices. These send the sound wirelessly direct to your ears, effectively turning your hearing aid into a pair of TV headphones, and you can even control the settings via an app on your smartphone. They work via a TV streamer that connects to your TV and transmits the sound into your hearing aid. Not only will you be able to hear the TV, you can keep the volume comfortable for those without hearing loss watching with you.

Wireless Headphones
If you don’t wear hearing aids then a pair of wireless headphones or TV listeners are a great option. If you have a TV with independent volume control then you can adjust the volume on the headphones separately from the TV speakers, so everyone has a volume they are happy with. This means that you, the whole family or your friends can all enjoy the same programme at the right sound levels, all at the same time. They can also eliminate any interference from background noises in the room.

Loop System
A loop system is a magnetic field that is placed around the room or in a personal loop worn around your neck. It can connect to the audio output of the TV or pick up the sound coming directly from the television’s speakers. It works through your telecoil setting on your hearing aid to transmit the TV audio wirelessly. You don’t need a wireless hearing aid to use a loop system, it only needs to be telecoil compatible – helpful if your hearing aid is an older model.

Sound Bars
Most modern flat-screen TVs have sacrificed sound for picture quality and many have speakers facing backwards, the idea being to bounce the sound off the wall. But sometimes that means deadening or reducing sound ranges that are inaudible to the hard of hearing. There are now separate soundbars available with built-in technology providing extra dialogue and voice clarity that are great for the hearing impaired. Most soundbars have extra speakers built-in but some come with external, wireless speakers that can be placed wherever you need around the room.

About the Author: Helen Say is a freelance copywriter and blogger

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