TV TOO LOUD?
Do you live with someone who
has to have the TV sound blasting? If so there are some solutions to
this problem. Hard of hearing senior citizens often turn the volume
way up on the TV. This creates a problem for people with normal hearing.
The sound is just too loud. Rather than fight over the volume level, why
not have the TV volume level adjustable for each hearing
The solutions involve the
1) You can buy a wireless system which uses
infrared (invisible light) transmissions from the TV base unit to a
receiver headphone. Costs start at about $100.00 for these types of
2) You can buy a FM
transmitter which will allow you to receive the TV sound on a
standard AM/FM radio using the earphone jack and headphones or
earbuds to listen without disturbing others. Costs for a FM
transmitter go from $12 to over $100 depending on the quality and
the distance it can cover.
3) You can setup a wired solution
using audio cables, a headphone and PC speakers. Cost is about
$40.00 for the parts.
With a wireless infrared system you have
a headset which you wear in your ears and a base unit connected to
your TV set. The headset has the receiver and the base unit has the
transmitter. This system uses infrared (invisible light) signals to
send the TV sound out into the room so that anyone with the proper
headset receiver can pickup the TV sound. The key here is that the
sound level on the TV can remain at a normal level for normal
hearing persons in the room while the hard of hearing person wearing
the headset gets an amplified sound level thru the headset. This way
both people get the sound level which works best for them. See http://tvears.com/ for information
about this system or to buy one. The base unit can accommodate two
A somewhat less elegant, but also
less costly solution involves using a few components, some of which
you may already have, to setup a wired system. By using audio
cables, a standard headphone and PC speakers with volume control,
you can have a system which functions like the wireless system,
giving the headphone wearer individual sound level
In the case of the wireless system or the wired
setup, you must connect audio cables to the audio output jacks in
the back of the TV set. Most modern TV sets sold after 1998 have
AUDIO OUT jacks in the back. Do not use the audio jacks in the front
of the TV as these are almost always INPUT jacks and will not work
to send the TV sound out. These audio OUT jacks on the rear TV panel
send out the TV audio to a left and right (white and red) cable pair
independent of the sound coming out of the TV speakers. What this
means is that you can control the regular TV sound with the TV
remote control as normal, but the secondary sound output thru the
jacks on the back of the TV remain independent and can be controlled
independently. This is how you achieve two different volume levels,
one for normal and one for the hard of hearing.
wireless system is explained and available thru http://tvears.com/ further
explanations are not required here and the focus will therefore be
on the wired solution. Granted, the wired solution is less elegant
but for the do-it-yourself people, it can be a fun and less costly
TV viewing room. This picture shows how a wired system might be
The TV audio out jacks are connected to the PC
speakers with a cable. The headphones
are connected to the
earphone jack on the speaker and you control the volume
volume control knob on the PC speaker. The speakers are silenced
connect the headphones. Turn the volume all the way down
to silence the commercials.
Use a 1/8 in. mini plug extension
cable available at Radio Shack to extend the distance
speaker to the headphones if you sit far away or want more freedom
wire length restrictions.
Cable to deliver TV sound to PC speakers.
connects to the two audio OUT jacks in back of the TV and the other
end to the PC speakers. Available at Radio Shack or online from
various electronics retailers. Radio Shack part number is 42-2551.
The red and white connectors are called RCA audio connectors.
Audio cable connects to TV output jacks usually in the
back of the TV.
RCA connectors on one end and 1/8 in. mini plug
on the other end.
Cable used to extend the distance from TV to
PC speakers. Can also be used as a headphone extension to extend the
distance from the PC speaker to the preferred listening
1/8 in. mini plug at one end and 1/8 in. mini jack at
the other end.
Available at Radio Shack in 16 ft and 20 ft cable
Radio Shack part number is 42-2562.
Anyone who has purchased a personal computer (PC)
should be already familiar with the speakers which can connect to
the sound card in the computer. If you do not already have some
speakers you can buy them for as little as $10 at Best Buy, Circuit
City, Radio Shack or a number of other stores or online. Just make
sure to get speakers with a volume control knob and also a earphone
out jack. This is required for the setup to work.
Specifications for PC Speakers
- Compatible with all PC sound cards and portable music devices
- Magnetically shielded
- 2" - 3.5" full range speakers
- Output Power: 0.5 Watts x 2 RMS
- Signal/Noise: 50dB
- Input Sensitivity: 600mV
- Music Power: 40 Watt
- Frequency Response: 70Hz-20kHz
- Headphone jack built-in
- AC power Adapter included
- Power On/Off switch
- Volume Control
- Weight: 1.4kg
- Dimensions: 210mm x 90mm x 94mm
PC Speaker with earphone jack and volume
The PC speakers are stereo, left and right
channels. One of the speakers is the so-called master and the other
is the slave. The master speaker will have the connections for the
AC power (or it may just use batteries) and the plug for the (input)
audio signals. The plug should be a 1/8 in. mini stereo plug to
match the cable coming from the TV. These are standard sizes and all
should be compatible.
Connect the cable coming from the TV to
a stereo 1/8 in. mini coupler.
Available at Radio Shack. This little coupler allows
you to connect the mini plug coming from the cable attached to the
TV, to the mini plug on the cable attached to the PC speakers. By
connecting the two cables together using this coupler, you have now
connected the TV audio OUT to the PC speakers. Turn on the TV, power
on the PC speakers, turn the volume up and you should hear the TV
sound coming thru the PC speakers.
Now connect the headphones. This will silence the
PC speakers. You may already have these headphones but if not, you
can purchase them at any electronics store or online for as little
as $8 or if you prefer, you can use earbuds.
Stereo headphones. Make sure they have a 1/8 in. stereo
mini plug connection at the end of the cord. Older stereo headphones
can be used also if you buy a 1/4 in. to 1/8 in.
Headphone connection to speaker.
Earbuds with 1/8 in. mini plug. These are lighter
weight than headphones.
You now have
a TV listening environment which will satisfy both the young and the
old, the sensitive ear and the hard of hearing all in one room. Give
it a try, it really does work.
those people with older TV sets or TV sets without audio OUT jacks,
there are alternatives. Some TV sets have a headphone output jack on
the front which could be used but if your TV does not, one option is
to use a VCR or other device which does have audio output jacks
available. Just connect the two RCA connectors to the red and white
audio output jacks, usually on the rear panel of the device, instead
of the TV and then tune the TV channel using the VCR (or other
device). You should hear the sound coming thru the headphones. Cable
TV boxes usually have audio output jacks as well.
alternative (also used with the wireless system) is to velcro a
microphone to the TV speaker. This is not ideal but may be the only
way for some people. The mic is connected to an amplifier and the
RCA connectors are connected to the red and white audio outputs on
Final alternative: You can purchase a new TV with
audio output jacks for as little as $100 which may be a good
investment considering your peace of mind is just as valuable or
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