Tips for Watching TV with Hearing Aids

In Tips & Tricks by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A

Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jennifer G. Mayer, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

Is there anything better than sitting down in front of the TV and enjoying a movie with your family? For those with hearing loss, it might be challenging to do so. With their propensity to crank the volume, fighting over the remote control might be common in houses where one family member has hearing loss.

This is an issue not solved by simply raising the volume. Those who share your household and have no hearing loss will be exposed to potentially damaging noise.

With this in mind, it is essential to find alternatives. Many people find that using hearing aids can reduce the volume for everyone at home to a comfortable level. If you are already using hearing aids, here are some steps you can take to make watching TV an even more seamless experience with your family members. 

Configure your hearing aids correctly

Many hearing aids offer noise cancelation features that reduce background noise. This enables you to listen to the essential sounds more clearly without increasing the volume of your hearing aids. 

Configure your TV presets

Changing specific presents in the ‘audio’ section of your TV settings may help if your hearing loss impacts understanding dialogue.

  • Presets such as “night mode” can lead to more visible dialog when they are turned off. 
  • Switching to “Stereo” or “Normal” is another recommended option for surround-sound TVs.
  • For multichannel sound systems like Dolby Digital or DTS, the volume of the center channel speaker should be increased. The volume of others should be reduced to improve the understanding of dialogue in movies and TV shows. 

Check to see if you can modify the frequency settings of the TV output. This will help immensely if you adjust the frequencies to compensate for those lost with your specific hearing loss. 

Use a telecoil if you have it on your hearing aid

Modern hearing aids are often fitted with a telecoil that can stream the audio signal directly from your television to your hearing aids. In addition to circumventing environmental noises, signals streaming to your hearing aids are filtered through settings tailored to your particular hearing loss.

Use Bluetooth if you have it on your hearing ai

Some hearing aids can be connected via Bluetooth technology to the TV directly. Your hearing aids can tap into the television sound system and send the audio to your hearing aids. 

The hearing aids work like wireless headphones; the entire output will be streamed directly to your hearing aids. 

Another great thing about Bluetooth hearing aids is that you can easily watch television with your family and friends. The TV audio still plays in the room, as well as transmitting to your hearing aids. You can control your hearing aids by utilizing an app on your smartphone or tablet and adjusting your volume to the optimal volume.

Don’t forget about closed captioning

Since 2006, Congress has demanded that all TV programs show audio as text. It’s also necessary for cable operators, satellite distributors, and online providers to provide closed captioning. The latter was mandated in a Massachusetts court in 2012 when the National Association of the Deaf sued Netflix.

Under the law, such subtitles must be:

  • Precise: To the extent possible, they must match spoken words and background noises.
  • Timely: Onscreen words shall coincide as far as possible with their corresponding spoken words and sounds.
  • Comprehensive: The captions must run from start to finish.
  • Carefully placed: The placement of the subtitles should not block or run off the edge of the screen or obscure crucial visual information.

While closed captioning is not always a complete word-by-word transcript of what is said, it can still be a useful tool to make TV understandable – even in conjunction with the strategies listed above. 

Hearing aids will improve your experience in TV viewing

When it comes to a great TV experience with hearing loss, the common denominator is a good pair of hearing aids. Hearing aids amplify the sounds coming from your TV and could help you understand speech more easily without being distracted by background noise.

Even if you already have hearing aids, experts recommend getting an annual hearing test from age 50 onwards. That’s why it makes sense to contact us for a hearing test. We look forward to helping you stay connected to your friends, family, and your favorite shows.