By Emily Steffel, AuD, CCC-A
I have difficulty hearing my television; my family complains it
is too loud, but when it is softer I can’t understand what the people
are saying. What can I do?
There are several options that can help make television watching easier
and clearer. The first thing to do is make sure that your hearing has
been tested recently. You may benefit from hearing aids or a change in
your hearing aid programming. By providing individualized increases in
volume where you need it, most hearing aids can not only make
understanding the television easier but can also make understanding
people easier in general. Additionally, most hearing aids now have
specialized programs designed especially to help with listening to the
television and to music.
Another option is to use a device that allows you to turn up the volume
of the television for yourself without turning up the volume for
everyone else. These devices consist of headphones you wear and a device
that plugs in to the TV that sends the sound to you either through a
cord or through wireless connections. There are several versions of
these devices and many can be used by people with or without hearing
If you currently wear hearing aids or you purchase new hearing aids, a
very useful option involves a small device worn on a lanyard around the
neck that receives the television signal from a small box that hooks
into your television set. This small neck-worn device then sends the
sound directly to both hearing aids without any wires. Each hearing aid
company has its own version of this device. Siemens has the MiniTek,
Phonak calls theirs the ComPilot, and Oticon uses the StreamerPro. The
best thing is that these devices do double duty; they can help with both
the television and the telephone!
I can’t understand people very well on the telephone; they are
too soft or they sound like they are mumbling. Is there something to
You have several potential options allowing easier and clearer hearing
on the telephone as well. As always, the first thing to do is make sure
that your hearing has been tested recently. Like “Loud TV,” you may
benefit from hearing aids or a change in your hearing aid programming.
By providing individualized increases in volume where you need it, most
hearing aids can make understanding on the telephone easier.
Additionally, most hearing aids now have specialized automatic programs
designed especially to help with telephone use.
You could also use an amplified telephone. An amplified telephone is
much like a standard phone but it allows the handset to generate much
higher volume and/or it has a much louder speaker phone feature. Both of
these features help to enhance speech understanding. This kind of phone
can be obtained from a specialized state program through your
audiologist. If you have documentable hearing loss, you qualify.
Just like “Loud TV,” you also can benefit from the ComPilot, MiniTek, or
StreamerPro. The telephone signal will flow from your telephone or your
cellular phone directly to your hearing aids without any wires,
allowing you to understand conversation easier.
For more information about options for hearing loss, call Audiology Consultants, P.C., at 563-355-7712 or visit www.audiologyconsultants.com.
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