Most people who have hearing loss can attest to the fact that it affects how well they hear in a restaurant, or surrounded by the background noise of a crowd. What spouses and family members often mention are the more annoying side effects of hearing loss…the things they notice at home. One common complaint is “the TV is turned up SO LOUD!”
Without realizing it, the person with hearing loss will try to make speech more clear by turning up the volume on the TV. The problem with this is that it doesn’t resolve the problem. The majority of hearing losses are high frequency in nature, which is perfect for men: their hearing loss is right in the range of their wife’s voice! The high frequencies are responsible for the majority of the clarity in speech. So, when he says, “Honey, you’re mumbling,” he’s right. To his ears, if the high frequencies are missing or degraded, it does sound like speech is garbled or unclear. The low frequencies, on the other hand, carry the power of speech. They are responsible for the feeling of volume. So, when someone is trying to improve clarity by increasing the volume, they are inadvertently increasing the noise as well. So begins the nasty cycle of turning up the volume to improve clarity, but the volume then becomes so great that it overpowers the nuances of speech. Thus begins the TV War. It goes something like this:
Henry: “I can’t hear the announcer. Did you hear what the score was?”
Mary: “It’s tied 2-2.”
Henry: “What? It’s not clear. Are they mumbling?”
Mary: “I can hear them just fine.”
Henry: “I’m going to turn it up a bit. Do you mind?”
Mary rolls her eyes and shrugs. After two innings and putting up with the commercials, which are loud enough to wake the dead, Mary has had enough.
Mary: “Henry, could you please turn the TV down a bit? It’s a little on the loud side.”
Henry: “What? I couldn’t hear you, the TV is so loud.”
So, what’s the solution?
Stay tuned! In the next several posts you’ll discover several different solutions for stopping the TV wars, including:
• TV listening accessories that connect to hearing aids
• FM and Infrared systems
• Loop systems