There are things you can do to help you better enjoy TV, radio or music.
- adjusting existing settings on your TV to help you hear better
- using subtitles and sign interpretation to help you better understand speech on TV
- using your TV, radio or music player with your hearing aid, if you use one
- using other helpful technology and assistive devices to help you.
It’s important to listen to your TV, radio and music at a safe volume. Find out more about protecting your hearing.
Using existing settings on your TV
There are ways to change the existing settings on your TV to make it easier to watch. You can access your TV’s settings through on-screen menus, using the remote control.
Many TVs allow you to adjust the treble and bass settings. Increasing the treble (higher pitch sounds) can make speech clearer, particularly ‘S’, ‘T’ and ‘F’ sounds. Reducing the bass (lower pitched sounds) can help as excessive bass can mask the high pitched sounds.
Some TVs have an advanced tone control (or equaliser) which allows you to boost or cut different audio frequencies. If you struggle to hear a specific pitch of sound, you can boost it to make it easier to hear.
Some TVs allow you to listen through the TV speaker and headphones (if connected) at the same time and have separate volume adjustments for each. This means you can listen through the headphones at a volume you prefer without disturbing others.
Some TV speakers may also have a speech enhancement setting. This should make it easier to hear dialogue over background music and sound effects. TV manufacturers may call this setting by different names such as ‘Clear voice’, ‘Voice enhance’ or ‘Dialogue clarity’.
Most TV and set-top boxes such as Freeview, Sky, Virgin and BT have subtitles. You can choose to switch subtitles on or off through your remote control. If you’re watching a programme that has subtitle content, the subtitles will appear when you switch on this function.
Some programmes don’t have subtitles or have subtitles of poor quality. Find out more about how we are improving access to television.
Some TV programmes will have sign interpretation. You can find out which ones do on the service provider’s TV guides (which you access via the set-top box’s remote control) and the broadcasting channel’s website.
Technology to make your TV and music more clear
There is also technology and assistive devices available that can help you better hear your TV or music.
If you use hearing aids, a hearing loop for your home can connect to your TV’s audio connections. It can help you hear the TV more clearly as it streams the sound from the TV directly into your hearing aids. You need to have the hearing loop setting on your hearing aid switched on. Your audiologist may need to activate the hearing loop setting for you first. Find out more about how to use your hearing aids here.
Prices for home hearing loops range from £80 to £200.
TV listeners let you listen to your TV at a volume you are comfortable with at the same time as the TV speaker. This means you can listen at a volume you prefer without disturbing others. They may also have features to help you hear the sound more clearly, including tone control and speech enhancement. They are normally made up of:
- A base unit or transmitter that connects to the audio output socket on your TV.
- A receiver. If you use hearing aids, you can use a device that connects to your hearing aid, such as a neck loop or ear hook. If you don’t use hearing aids, the receiver can be wireless headphones or earbuds.
Prices for these devices range from £100 to £300 for more advanced models.
TV and Bluetooth streamers
If you use hearing aids, you might find TV or Bluetooth streamers helpful.
- TV streamers are devices that you can connect to your TV set which will send the audio directly to your hearing aids. They need to be compatible with your type of hearing aid.
- Bluetooth streamers allow you to stream the audio of a Bluetooth device such as your music player or radio directly into your hearing aids.
Prices for streamers can range from £50 to £200.
Assistive listening devices
These are small, portable devices that pick up speech and make it louder. You place this close to your TV, radio or music player loudspeaker. Find out more about assistive listening devices here. Prices for listening devices are between £80 to £600 for more advanced models.
Get help paying for technology
You may be able to get help paying for technology from:
- your local council’s sensory services team
- your workplace, if you need technology to help you to work
- the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) scheme, if you are in post-18 education.
Where they are available to buy
Our partner, Connevans, is a leading supplier of specialist products and assistive technology.
They can help you find out about the different technology and accessories that you might benefit from.
When you shop online at our dedicated website with Connevans, 10% of each purchase is donated to us.