As we age our hearing reduced the power to hear clearly and I wanted to get one that my grandpa could hear because he had some hearing issues. So, I looked around at the different soundbars and what if they provide a better sound quality for people with hearing loss, and summarize what I found in this article.
So, can a soundbar help someone with hearing issues? Specific soundbars have been designed for people who have hearing issues, and those using hearing aids. They are different from standard soundbars. A soundbar, in general, however, provides superior audio quality and clarity that improves the listening experience of those with hearing issues.
Exactly how they differ to standard soundbars needs some explaining, as well as, other ways to improve sound clarity and volume. So, read on, to find the answers to these questions.
Can a Soundbar Improve TV Sound and Dialogue for Someone with Hearing Issues?
Soundbars are a way to improve the sound quality that improves how well you can hear the dialogue.
Modern TVs are very thin. Because they are so thin, the speakers have to be very small. Small speakers provided worse sound quality compared with bigger speakers up to a point.
Subwoofers are the largest speakers but they don’t play any of the dialogue or ambient environmental sound.
So, speakers in size up to but not including subwoofers will improve the sound quality coming from your TV, relative to the speakers that are built in. This is because they are larger and also wider providing a better quality sound.
Some models are specifically designed for the hearing impaired, though, I have not tested these myself.
A good idea would be to find some of the more popular of these soundbars and to go into a store and see how they perform. But, you should also compare them relative to other soundbars.
Be aware, that the subwoofer and other speakers provide a fuller sound spectrum so the result you get might be the result of the other speakers and not necessarily as a result of just the soundbar.
With a soundbar you can hear the dialogue at lower volumes than the speakers that are built into your TV.
This means that you won’t disturb your neighbors and those you live when watching shows, concerts, or movies with a soundbar. Because you can set your soundbar at a lower volume to what you normally have your TV on, and still make out the dialogue clearly.
What are Some Hearing Impaired Soundbars that Have Lots of Positive Reviews?
The brand Zvox is one a soundbar manufacturer that creates soundbars that are specifically designed for people with hearing loss, and/or use a hearing aid.
It is important to note that these specific soundbars only work as a stand alone unit, and CANNOT be used with a receiver and other home theatre system speakers.
These soundbars may completely solve your sound quality issue, but if it does not, you should look into using a multi-speaker system, or headphones designed specifically for people with hearing issues.
I will provide some details on their most well reviewed models below:
- It has over 2,600 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/5.
- It comes with a 30 day home trial. This means you can test it out and see if the sound quality is in fact what they say it is, and if not you can return it.
- It has over 540 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/5.
- This model also comes with a 30 day home free trial.
- It has six levels of voice boost and smooths out sound spikes that commonly occur during advertisements.
- It has over 364 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/5.
- It comes with a 30 day home free trial.
- It is a more advanced model with the added capability to adjust the different sound levels, to get the best sound for your specific hearing situation.
How Else Can I Hear Dialogue Better on My TV?
There are few things to try out, to improve the dialogue on your TV, I will list them below:
TV and speaker placement
You should experiment with different TV placements to see if it improves the clarity of the sound. In some cases bringing your TV or speakers forward away from walls creates better acoustics.
Each room is unique, but in general, only subwoofers perform better when placed corners or up against a wall. Other speakers should be placed more towards the center of the room for better sound quality and improved dialogue.
You can’t know ahead of time where the optimum placement is because the geometry of each room is unique, and requires experimentation.
It is best practice when setting up new speakers for your TV to test out their placement and to get the best sound clarity.
It is helpful to get someone to help you because that way you can sit where you would to watch your TV, and get someone to move the speakers around until you get the best sound quality.
Soundbars are always placed just under the TV as they are designed for the sound to originate from directly in front of you. Subwoofers should be placed in corners or against walls, and other speakers should be placed to the sides and directly behind you.
You should look at the recommendations for the particular speakers you have in your owner’s manual to see where they recommend to place them.
Deadening sound reflections
Hardwood floors and windows make sound waves bounce back and don’t absorb the sound. This causes wave interference patterns.
When the waves overlap they can cancel each other out or amplify each other depending on where the sound waves overlap. That diminishes or improves the sound quality and volume respectively.
To help with this you should use a rug on the floor. The rug will absorb the sound waves stopping them from bouncing. You can also close the blinds or curtains to stop reflections off of windows.
For walls, you can use a bookcase, or hanging rugs to absorb the sound waves.
Adjust the settings on your TV
Many TVs have the ability to adjust the sound levels. Such as how much bass, mid-range, and high frequencies. More bass lessens the clarity of dialogue. More mid-range and high frequencies improve the dialogue. It is worthwhile to test these out, using your user manual.
If you make a mistake and make the sound quality worse, you can reset the settings back to default and try again. My general recommendation would be to lower the bass and turn up the mid and high range frequencies.
Certain soundbars are designed to provide better sound quality for people with hearing issues. These are produced by a brand known as Zvox. There are a few models that offer a free 3 day home trial.
You can further improve the sound quality of your speaker system by experimenting with the placement of your TV and speakers. Each room is unique and exactly where you place them can make the sound quality better or worse. Adjusting the settings on your TV can also improve sound clarity.
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