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woman with difficulty hearing television cupping ear and holding remote control

It’s an issue becoming more and more common with watching television; people experiencing difficulty hearing speech on TV.

Mishearing TV dialogue can be a sign of hearing loss, but ears aren’t the only problem. The device itself can make TV viewing a challenge. For many TV manufacturers, good sound seems to be an afterthought. – Arvig Blog

Why TV Dialogue is Sometimes Hard to Understand

The relationship that exists between audio from the TV and what humans understand as speech is far more complicated. Many people blame today’s modern day television design which is believed to pay more attention on aesthetics rather than practicality. With speakers that are smaller and either located near the back of the TV or pointing towards the sides.

Words in some scenes are spoken so quietly that you need to turn up the volume. Then the next scene will be filled with explosions and people yelling, suffocating the entire house.

There is also a large entertainment audience that has some level of hearing loss. 48 million Americans suffer from some level of hearing loss and finding it hard to hear voices on TV can be a sign of this. There are many ways to help amplify the sound, so that TV entertainment can still be enjoyed.

How to Amplify Dialogue on TV

TV Settings

There are a few TV settings that can be adjusted for better audio quality to hear TV better. Try looking for a feature called “Dynamic Range Compression” or “Dynamic Range Control” under the audio functions. If your TV has this feature, try setting it to “High” or “Maximum”.

dynamic range control

This will level out the range of volume, making the loudest and quietest sounds more equal and consistent. The TV will automatically lower the volume during loud, noisy scenes and boost it when there is dialogue only. Often this simple adjustment helps reduce difficulty hearing speech on TV.

Another setting that can help control volume levels is different sound modes. Check to see if your TV has different functions for specific types of watching such as sport, movie or news. Learn how to amplify dialogue on TV by selecting the speech-enhancing modes such as Clear Voice.

Also included in the sound modes setting are special enhancement features such as virtual sound or 360 sound. Try turning these off to test if that prioritizes the dialogue rather than the sound effects.

EQ levels can also influence your TV’s quality of sound. The majority of TV’s have bass and treble levels that can be adjusted. Setting the bass to a lower setting can mitigate TV dialogue that appears to be muffled and turning up the treble can add clarity to the sound.

Sound Systems

The next step after trying to adjust the internal TV setting is an external sound system. Movies and TV shows are almost always edited using a multi-channel structure which allows for sound to bounce between speakers. There are various speakers that can be utilized with this configuration, not just the usual left and right front speakers that TV’s come with.

“TV sets typically come with two speakers, left and right. These speakers can only provide stereo sound with digital processing and can simulate the other speakers required for surround sound. If the TV’s digital sound processing algorithm doesn’t mix the multi-speaker sounds correctly (in a process called downsampling) then the center channel (the dialogue) might not be loud enough to cut through.” – Kim Komando

There are a number of surround sound systems to choose from. Different configurations can be constructed depending on your personal needs and space availability.

Wireless Headphones and Headsets

Wireless headphones are a cost-effective solution if you’re struggling to hear dialogue on the TV. Some of the newer TV’s now include wireless Bluetooth capability. If you have this capacity, try pairing your wireless headset and see if this improves your hearing of TV dialogue.

There are specific products on the market that are designed to help with hearing deficiencies and elevate speech. These product types include IQbuds2 MAX which also has a TV streaming accessory, IQstream TV. This combination makes for an exceptional listening experience and allows for you to hear TV without disturbing others.

IQbuds MAX and IQstream TV


The IQstream TV gives you independent control of your own volume levels, allowing you to pick a comfortable level to watch TV at. This enables you to find a volume where you’re able to hear everything you want to hear on the TV.

Your IQbuds MAX pair with the the IQstream TV device via a Bluetooth connection. The IQstream device connects directly to the TV via a digital or analog cable depending on your preference. With built-in aptX LL technology, there is zero delay between the audio feed and video display!

August 17th, 2021