Improving TV Sound Clarity

I don’t wear any form of hearing aid, but I do have a big problem understanding TV speech because I can not hear the high frequencies. Voices sound muffled. My wife is getting fed up of me asking her to update me on the drama plot!

I have added a TV sound bar which helps a little but is not a solution. My hearing in other situations may not be perfect, but it’s not bad enough to spend money on!

I’m not ready to invest thousands for hearing aids and suspect that the right type of PSAP might be what I need. I use an IPhone and am reasonably tech savvy. The ideal system would send TV sound to an IPhone, where I could tune it with an app for optimum speech clarity and then send it to a BTE aid or even headphones. I assume Bluetooth would provide the wireless communication link. This is all very new to me and I am just starting my research!

Does my ideal system exist? Can anyone suggest specific equipment?

The least expensive way would be Siemens aid from China on eBay. They run $50-75 each. I used them when I had a similar loss and they were OK. They did improve things enough. When my loss changed, they would be suitable.

Another would be BT headphones or buds. They would be used with a low-latency BT transmitter ($20-50) on Amazon.

Thanks Ken. The BT transmitter and headphones approach sounds interesting, but I can’t see how this would boost the high frequencies, which is what I assume I need.

Well, we don’t know your exact loss. Some report that clarity is improved for them but the loss may be different. There are also some headphones that can be adjusted.

There is also a product called TV ears you could look into. They are somewhat tunable. I didn’t find them a great help but again that with a different hearing loss.

I had good luck with Bluetooth headphones but the best was TV Ears. Not sure they are still around.

I guess they are still around. I had the original.

Ideally, yes. But there is improvement in clarity in just using headphones even without any equalisation. It may be enough, depending on your loss. The iphone idea won’t work. Mobile phones generally don’t receive an a2dp audio stream.

And then there’s the “problem” of many shows being awash in music and background sounds for surround and you’re only going out to one or two speakers. If you use one, your STB might have some tricks to alter the sound. Or indeed use a surround system that then places the music in the surrounds leaving the dialog in the center. Then if you want to go whole-hog…disconnect the surrounds and lose all that racket.

Another thought. I’ve come across a few headphones with built-in equaliser over the years. Never actually used one. A quick Google found Mpow H4 Bluetooth Headphones, Personalized Equalizer Modes, aptX Hi-Fi Headset, 30 Hours Audio Playback, Protein Earbuds Headphones with Mic, Wireless & Wired Headphones for Cell Phone/ TV/ PC.

The mpow H4 headphones look interesting. Reviews on Amazon are a bit mixed but at that price point they still look like good value. The presence of the AptX feature seems to be credibly disputed and the supplier even says they are querying the manufacturer on this. Looks like communication is based on conventional Bluetooth only. Is this important?

Yes. Especially for watching tv. The latency of the AptX LL Codec is within the limits of human perception. You won’t see any delay between seeing an actor’s lips move and hearing his voice. The default SBC Codec has far greater latency. It bothers some people less than others.