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  • TV Surround sound/voice enhancement for hard of hearing
  • Premier Icon rockhopper70
    Free Member

    For my dad, who is 91, and suffers with poor hearing. For context, he can hear a conversation at slightly elevated volume sitting four metres away, which is about the same distance away as his telly.

    He has a fairly low end telly and turns the volume up quite high to hear it, which the results in distorted sound, including the speech of his films, so he resorts to subtitles.

    I have a Denton sound base and have told him I’ll bring it down to try on his telly to see if the volume can get high and clear enough. Then it struck me that a surround system with rear speakers next to him, directing the “talking parts” might be a better solution, albeit not as neat.

    Anyone had similar experiences or set up systems to suit? Any ideas?


    Premier Icon shinton
    Free Member

    First thing I would do is check the TV sound menu to see if there is an ‘optimise for speech’ or similar option. Just did this on my TV and it made a significant difference to speech clarity.

    Premier Icon rockhopper70
    Free Member

    Good shout. I’ll check.

    Premier Icon flyingpotatoes
    Free Member

    Does he have hearing aids? You can get a tv adaptor for them if he does.

    Otherwise look at rnid website. There are some tv & assistive listening devices that might be useful but I don’t think they come cheap.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Full Member

    Wireless headphone for the TV?

    Premier Icon johnners
    Free Member

    Would he consider wearing headphones/earbuds? I break out the headphones when I want to watch anything especially rowdy (I live in a modern mid terraced house) but the clarity of speech is much improved too.

    The rear speakers on a surround system won’t be carrying the principal speech parts but pretty much any soundbar or soundbase will be a big improvement.

    Premier Icon Sui
    Free Member

    Full Member
    Wireless headphone for the TV?

    my dad did this, well mum did as a present. Some sennheiser kit with a base station – no idea what they are, but bloomin good. Surprised she spent as much as she did, i think they were about £350, she must have been really annoyed with the loud tv..

    edit, found them

    Premier Icon toby1
    Full Member

    Would be hard to channel the ‘voice’ to the rears, it goes out on the centre channel which is a single speaker and is balanced across the fronts. A surround amp (well my Yamaha for example) will allow you to alter the relative volume of speakers such as the centre channel and you can also ‘optimise for speech’. I have to say though it does sound like a decent hearing aid would help, my FIL recently got some and can now watch the TV at a much more sensible level.

    Premier Icon kittyr
    Free Member

    Three good options and maybe a combination of all of them!

    Hearing aid.

    Wireless headphones.

    Decent sound bar with an ‘optimize speech’ mode (also probably a ‘night time’ mode which turns down the bass so he doesn’t TOTALLY piss of neighbors as I guess he will still have it at a loud volume).

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    Have you got any old PC speakers lying around? Something even as cheap as this makes a big difference to sound quality…

    …just adds depth that built-in TV speakers lack. I have them plugged into the headphone port of a couple of TVs.

    Premier Icon timmys
    Full Member

    If he has hearing aids then the thing designed to do exactly what you want is a ‘loop’ for the TV.

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
    Full Member

    We’ve got a ten year old LG, it has a voice volume function. Just raises the volume of speech and not the other gubbins. It’s not perfect but it definitely helps. You may be able to find a fairly cheap, basic LG that has the same function?

    Premier Icon b33k34
    Full Member

    Would be hard to channel the ‘voice’ to the rears, it goes out on the centre channel which is a single speaker and is balanced across the fronts.

    My surround amps have a ‘5 speaker stereo’ mode which will send music to all channels at the same volume. You could probably force it for TV audio if it was just being fed a stereo signal and not surround encoded audio.

    The other thing that might help is ‘night mode’ which compresses the dynamic range (so there is less difference between the quiet bits and loud bits).

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Full Member

    Before you spend money on speakers/soundbar etc see if the tv menu has a simple eq in the audio settings and if so then cut the bass/low frequency response as there will be standing wave build up in the room (especially if he is sitting near a boundary, such as near walls etc) which will muddy the vocal clarity, perhaps increase the highs slightly as well. Or like others have said there may be a menu audio option for increased speech clarity.

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    Have you got any old PC speakers lying around?

    That’s what I did for my old neighbour just run from headphone out on the telly. Worked very well, he was very happy with it and i could sit in the garden and listen to it too 😊

    Premier Icon scrumfled
    Free Member

    Im presuming its standard age related hearing loss. The first question to ask is does he already use hearing aids to listen to the telly?

    Then it’s the TV/make&model so you can work out what you can do.

    Options include;

    – Hearing aid (if hes doesnt already have one)
    – Stream to the aid
    – wireless headphones
    – loop system
    – personal amp

    etc etc

    Premier Icon plumber
    Free Member

    I use speech enhance on the sonos as my hearing is going,

    but those headphones look like brilliant addition albeit a bit pricey

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