Watching tv is for most of us something we do to unwind, to distract and to spend some time with family/friends. It’s a time where we expect stress to be reduced but as a tinnitus sufferer, this can unfortunately meant that stress levels can actually increase….
The first thing to note is that some tv models emit a frequency noise. This is audible to some people and not to others. For example, the sound spectrum that older people have available to them is a lot less than that of a younger person, this is not being ageist, it’s the truth! This can be caused by a number of electronic devices in the one area, the quality/model of the tv or even quite commonly a fault in the tv. It is normal however that some noise frequency is emitted but it’s usually not loud enough if everything is working as it should. LCD tv’s seem to cause tinnitus sufferers the most hardship so perhaps have a look at the tv.
To really know how this may/may not affect you and to see which frequencies are problematic for you, I’d recommend that you try to find out the frequency that is troublesome for you. A qualified audiologist is the best place to go for this, but as a start, you could go here http://www.tinnitracks.com/en/matching# it is a free tool that may give an indication. From this you can see which music types, instrumentation etc if contained in the submission may affect you.
Some tinnitus sufferers are reactive this means that noise causes noise. Other sufferers actually become more reactive over time. Obviously, if you are a reactive sufferer, you don’t want to be in a situation that will cause a spike in your tinnitus. Some of the solutions below may give ideas to help you to enjoy tv if you’re a non-reactive sufferer or more importantly if you are a reactive sufferer.
Try these out
- Limit tv time : Fairly obvious but sometimes hard to actually do. Good practice would be (and most sufferers on various forums seem to have generated this figure) that you spend no more than 30 minutes at the tv before you take a break. This could be using a white noise machine, reading, some household chore, walk etc.
- Use subtitles with white noise/notched music : I’ve written previously about how the use of external noise stimulus helps some sufferers to reduce the tinnitus levels through masking. Combining these 2 gives the benefits of following the tv as well as passively getting some direct relief through tried and tested techniques.
- Ear phones : I personally use Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones for music/tv.
This helps to reduce the volume to a level where it is good for you and having a reduced room noise level. This one is especially valid for those who have both tinnitus & deafness. Obviously this only works if you’re watching tv on your own.
- Headphone amp : This is a strange one to put in here but makes sense if there is more than one person watching the tv. Some tv’s will allow a dual function, headphones and normal volume. If yours doesn’t, a headphone amp will allow each user to experience sound at their own preferred volume level. It’s like a splitter. It does take the ‘social’ part out of watching tv a little but it may be an option that is better than not actually getting to watch the programme/film together.
- Casting : In our house, we use casting a lot, typically to hook to Netflix or other online channels/streaming. Casting is where you use a PC/tablet/phone to send audio/video to a tv to which the receiver is connected. A receiver for example is a chrome box which is what we use and this is connected to the tv by USB obviously your tv has to be able to accept it. If you plug your headphones into your source device eg PC/tablet you can listen to the same audio as the other people in the room. Please note however that this will not work for all sources. Eg it works for me for certain streaming sites eg www.rte.ie/player but it doesn’t work from youtube.
I hope that this helps a little, that it gives you some options that perhaps you didn’t know about before. Some of these are trial and error especially the last couple and some do reduce the social element but options are limited and I only want to maximise as many as possible!
Thanks for reading,