Can You Hear It Now?
July 2, 2018
Have you ever walked into an older person’s apartment and be knocked over by the volume of the TV? Sometimes it’s truly painful to the ears that have normal hearing. Mostly it’s just uncomfortably loud. Certainly you can’t even exchange greetings until the sound is turned down.
This is not an unusual scenario because hearing diminishes with age. Recently I learned that forty five percent of people in their 60’s have some hearing loss and for those in their 70’s, more than two thirds have significant loss. Are you one of them? This article is devoted to ways you can enjoy television without having to turn the volume up to blast-off level.
One way is by turning on the closed captioning feature on your set. Most newer sets have this option in the control settings that you can set up yourself via your remote control. Or you can call your provider who will talk you through the steps. It is not difficult. What you achieve is a readable printout of everything that is being said in real time much like subtitles. After a short learning curve, your eyes and ears will adapt and work together allowing you to understand the dialogue much more easily at a lower volume. You will wish you had done it long ago.
Another option is to invest in a sound bar or extra speakers closer to your preferred seat (and ears). This is separate equipment connected to your tv that enhances the sound coming out without turning up the volume so high. Many people find that enough of a boost to be helpful.
An extremely helpful way to proceed is to buy a personal wireless infra-red tv amplifier that you can adjust to your specific need while allowing the tv set volume to remain low. There are many models and types of receivers available in an array of prices. Some are worn as headphones; some as ear buds; another is made for hearing aid users and employs a thin wire coil that lies on the base of the neck. I found that before I got mine, I had to increase the volume substantially in order to understand much of British or other dialect for example. With my device, because the sound is going directly into my ears and not into the room, I can easily understand what is being said at my preferred level of sound without disturbing anyone else. It is the best purchase I have made in years.
Speakers and sound bars are available in big box stores as well on line. There is at least one model of personal TV amplifier that I have seen in a big box store. They are also available on line, but you would want to see how the set feels on your head and ears before purchase. For that option, contact the Center for Hearing and Deaf services for a demonstration: 412-281-1375.