Having problems hearing at the movies, listening to the radio, or while watching TV?

Aug 17, 2010 by

It is very common for someone with hearing loss to say, “I can’t appreciate going to the movies because I am missing the punch line.” Similar complaints are reiterated when watching TV, listening to the radio or in noisy restaurant environments. These environments have something in common; they all present the listener with a mechanical reproduction of sound and utilize various techniques that can make understanding difficult with hearing loss.

Movie theaters use loudness expansion. With expansion, loud sounds are louder than normal. This is exactly the opposite of what people with hearing loss need. Specifically, hearing impaired people need loudness compression which is reduced amplification of loud sounds. Moreover, filmmakers often use multiple microphones to record speech from several people at the same time. Add background music to this situation and you have the recipe for a difficult listening environment for those with hearing loss.

Whether you are listening to the radio, telephone, TV or watching movies, the quality of sound and the clearness of speech has been recorded, processed, transmitted and amplified. For people with hearing loss, this difference is enough to make understanding a real challenge. I encourage anybody who is having difficulty listening in these environments to utilize the hearing aid technology that is available to improve the sound quality. For example, most movie theaters are wired for sound and allow you to utilize their own personal listening headphones. In most cases, this will dramatically improve your ability to understand speech, which is our common goal.

Having problems hearing at the movies, listening to the radio, or while watching TV? Contact one of our south Florida audiologists and let us improve your hearing ability.