Why You Can’t Hear TV Dialogue

Interesting, brief article that says many people, not necessarily hearing impaired, want closed captions displayed when watching TV, and discusses reasons why:

Why You Can’t Hear TV Dialogue

I definitely want closed captions on all programming (except live broadcasts, where the caption delay is just too confusing) or unless I have a ReSound TV streamer sending the sound straight into my ear. I thought my problem was that newer HDTVs almost never these days have loudspeakers facing the viewer; typically the sound goes down, or reflects off a wall behind. I need direct line-of-fire for good speech comprehension. But apparently the issue may be more general and has to do with the way sound editors mix dialogue these days.


Too many shows have overwhelming not-background music that drowns out the dialog. Even the able-hearing spouse has difficulty. There are some convoluted workarounds but we actually simply stopped watching some of them.


Where I live we seldom have audio synched with video. It can be off by minutes.

It makes it extremely hard to understand, as I still lip read.



I totally agree with this. Many an interesting documentary has been ruined for me because of the music drowning out the dialogue.


After a lot of trial I have found a tweaked speech in noise program to help a lot.

I use a Streamer 3.0 at home but the program when out visiting.

TV dialogue is essentially distant speech in noise so has both the classic difficulties together. With the mixing as the cherry on top.

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On a Vizio brand TV, I noticed even the dedicated sound bar is too ‘boomy’; So alternatively, I went inside the unit and disconnected the internal speaker wires and Extended the twin wires to the outside of the unit. On the outside, I connect bookshelve speakers and aimed them towards my ears. Great.

Also, on an upper model of the LG TV’s ; they offer an option to choose “clear sound III”, which filters out the music, and preferentially amplifies the voices. I highly recommend this type, if one doesn’t want to mess with modifications.

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I used to use CC 100% when watching TV now I use the ReSound TV streamer it has raised my comprehension from about 40/50% to about 90% on most programming


I thought documentaries were the answer for me (as I dislike most video-fiction). I enjoy entertainment as much as the next person, but the docs have been mostly ruined by over-whelming music tracks!


Thanks for the interesting link - and for the confirmation, that i’m not alone…

But everything can be put to good use in some way. I used tv dialogues as an ultimate test procedure for my new HAs (oticon more1).
Natively speaking German, i like to watch original english version tv movies as an exercise for my English language skills. On one hand it was a wonderful feeling to be able to - halfway - understand tv again after years of gradual deterioration. On the other hand it is quite a difference to listen to real persons than to follow a quick spoken english conversation on tv - even from Oxford-english speakers.
So i startet to tweak and experiment:
First, the mentioned article is (somewhat) right. A tv-series (=stereo) is easier to understand than a movie intended for the cinema (=5.1+). And my rather antique tv set performs better than the most modern technology monster that was exhibited in the tv store. Streaming is not necessarily better, i would prefer “real” sound to the whispering in the ear. But then there shouldn’t be any background noise - and no neighbours :wink:.
I found, that a starting point for better tv understandig was the music-program (oticon MyMusic). Since there is (almost) no directional information in the tv sound, it is better to have less to no electronic focusing assistance.
It’s not a good idea to increase noise reduction for the “Easy Environment” - neither in real life nor when streaming; for then the automatic will muffle everything that is not the same level as the recognized speech signal (meaning that a low voice will vanish when there are loud voices present).
Most people have a better - or preferred - ear. In the real world a HA must be careful not to distort the level difference between the ears to preserve spatial hearing. But for tv streaming that is not significant. So i slightly enhanced my worse side - like the oticon software proposed for music.
Since i anyway have the “Brightness” and “Soft Sound” set to maximum, now i at least can follow the old agatha christie’s.
(to be continued if i find another useful setting)