Battling the Isolating Consequences of Hearing Loss

In a letter sent in 1910, political activist, author, and lecturer Helen Keller made a statement that is often quoted.

“The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important, than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus – the sound of the voice that brings language sets thoughts astir and keeps us in the intellectual company of man… After a lifetime in silence and darkness that to be deaf is a greater affliction than to be blind… Hearing is the soul of knowledge and information of a high order. To be cut off from hearing is to be isolated indeed.”1

This is still true today. People suffering from hearing loss often experience isolation in different forms. It is my passion to work and educate against the isolating results of untreated hearing loss.

Over the next few months, I will explore different hearing topics, their consequences, and possible solutions.

Today – Isolation at the TV:

When the hearing slows down the TV volume goes up. But just making the TV louder does not make it clearer. It may just annoy your spouse or neighbour. The sad result I often see in everyday practice is that wife and husband watch TV in two separate rooms, rather than spending time together. Some people may use headphones which improve the sound but again put a barrier between two people. 

Putting up with frustration caused by hearing loss is unnecessary. Technology offers solutions which don’t always require wearing hearing aids. 

Here are three easy options for improving the clarity on the TV without the use of hearing instruments: 

  1. Most TV’s allow you to adjust the sound settings to increase the level of speech frequencies. This may do wonders to your speech understanding when watching television and reduce frustration and misunderstanding.
  2. Most TV’s today are incredibly flat and slim. They only have tiny speakers often at the rear of the TV. The result is reduced speech clarity, especially in the presence of background music or noise. Adding external speakers to your television will enhance the clarity significantly.
  3. Improving the acoustic atmosphere of the room, especially when the seating position is at the rear wall will make listening to the program a lot easier. Adding acoustic panels, for example, is quick and easy and brings notable improvements. 

In case you are wearing hearing instruments, they may be able to connect to your TV wirelessly to improve the audio signal. Digital transmission technology allows us to eliminate many factors that reduce the sound quality to give you a much clearer sound and better understanding. 

If you would like to know how to adjust the settings or what other options may bring the desired results, contact Daniel at EAR STUDIO. I have prepared a document which contains helpful tips around sound optimisation for the television. 

Each month I will be answering one of your hearing health care questions. Please email questions to daniel@earstudio.com.au – the answer to your question may be published in next month’s article. 

Reference:

  1. Helen Keller in Scotland: a personal record written by herself, edited by James Kerr Love (London: Methuen & Co., 1933). On page 68, in a 1910 letter written to Dr. Kerr Love.