Many people that suffer from hearing loss comment on problems hearing the television. This is traditionally tackled by simply turning up the volume; which of course helps but can cause many a cross word with others in the household (or sometimes with those in adjoining households!). It also doesn't deal with the central issue; it is rarely the case that overall volume needs adjusting, often it can be dialogue rather than sound effects or the score that proves difficult to hear and discern. This is mostly due to a high frequency hearing loss (by far the most common type and frequently linked with age). This type of loss leads to challenges when trying to pick up the consonants in words, particularly the letters S, T, H, F, M, N etc. It is even more difficult for women's and small children's voices which have a higher frequency form overall. As a consequence, changing the overall volume does help with these issues but also increases the volume of sounds unnecessarily; resulting in reaching for the remote every time a dramatic moment is emphasised by music. So how can these issues be better dealt with?
Essentially, there are two options when considering TV Hearing Aids.
1) TV Listeners These clever devices are designed to provide a personal volume and tone setting for the individual, without affecting volume levels for the rest of the audience (or neighbours!). They usually take the form of a specialist set of headphones which operate wirelessly through infra-red or radio transmission. The base unit plugs into the scart socket at the back of the TV and then broadcasts the output to the headphones which can be adjusted in several ways to suit, including volume, tone (bass and treble) and balance allowing for greater amplification for one ear or another. As they utilise the audio output from the scart connection, they do not interfere with the standard volume and tone settings for the TV and as such allow others to set these at a more comfortable level. These devices have been historically popular for two main reasons, they have been much more affordable than the second alternative below and are only used for the purposes of TV viewing in the home and as such, attract less attention. The main disadvantage of this option is that once in use, they make it very difficult to be aware of one's surroundings or communication attempts by others.
2) Hearing Aids Hearing aids are designed to provide personal levels of volume or amplification with specific focus on certain frequencies; they offer much greater flexibility in this regard than TV Listeners and have several additional benefits. Firstly, they allow for communication from others whilst watching TV and provide or more 'rounded' sound picture as external noise sources are picked up; such as a doorbell, a telephone ring (or a smoke alarm!!). Secondly, they can be used to benefit in a far greater number of circumstances than is the case for TV Listeners extending to a variety of social circumstances as well as in the work place. As such they represent a far more flexible and broader beneficial option. Resistance to this option typically takes the form of out-dated stigma associated with hearing aid use combined with average prices for a privately acquired hearing aid of around £1,100. At HearingDirect.com we have a range to suit no matter which option carries greater appeal, both our Hearing Aids and TV Listeners start from amazingly affordable prices - which means price, at least, is no longer a reason not to try one...