I don't think it's me

I enjoy good films on tv, but more and more I find I can’t understand what is being said. More and more I feel that the actors & actresses are mumbling, badly. When background mood music is being played it’s even worse. I am losing out on the script, the plot, and the story.

I’ve considered getting a hearing aid for tv, but I realize that when I watch any tv documentary or any of the news channels I can hear very clearly every word being spoken. Same with radio. No problem.

I’ve tried changing the tv sound settings but still can’t get good audio clarity for films. I’m sure it’s mumbling that’s the problem, not the tv or my hearing, or is it? Has anyone else experienced this?


We have a soundbar plugged in to our TV. I find it helps make it easier to hear conversations in films.

Doesn’t help with the adverts being louder than everything else sadly though.


Have you tried a set of headphones? When we watch anything in the French language, I find it easier to hear the dialogue with them. Have you got a separate (AV) audio system? TV sound from built in speakers is often poor. I have watched a lot of films where audio clarity was lacking.
I suggest you get a hearing test in any case.


I didn’t know soundbars existed, or what they are, thanks. Will do a search…

Can you switch the subtitles on? That’s what I do, as my hearing isn’t great.

I have good hearing and can hear very clearly tv news, documentaries and what’s being said in tv adverts. TV films don’t seem to come up to their audio standards. I do prefer to listen to music on headphones but hadn’t considered them for tv films. Will look into it, thanks.

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I’ll have a look at the tv settings and see if I can switch on subtitles…thanks.

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I didn’t know this mumbling was a general problem – just found this in the Guardian…!


Something that article missed is that flat screen TVs almost all have their speakers on the back, meaning that the sound bounces off the wall before you hear it. Ironically although the picture is better, the sound is worse than on the old CRT screens from yesteryear that were so big and bulky they could afford to put larger, forward-facing speakers.


There’s a tv channel ‘Talking Movies’ which I watch. The old b&w movies have really first-class cinematic definition, with all shades of grey from black to white. And no problems hearing what’s being said in those films.

I think the Guardian’s right, that microphones being used on more modern films are to blame.

The advent of portable mics has allowed a shift towards a more intimate and naturalistic style of performance, where actors can speak more softly – or, some might say, mumble.

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Just had a look at my flat-screen tv and the speakers are definitely not on the front. Think they point downwards. Can’t really tell if the grills at the back are for cooling or for sending out the sound.

Your idea of a soundbar looks promising.

Wow… what a relief! It’s NOT me going mad (and/or deaf)

I can hear the kitchen tap drip, through 2 closed doors and at the other end of the house! (ok slight exag… but you get my drift… ) and I’ve been worrying about my hearing with certain stuff on TV 'cos I’m losing half the conversations… turn up the sound to see if that helps… and then when the music plays, it’s deafening and I’m scrabbling for the controls.

OH has been using headphones as he prefers louder to my softer… :wink: and now I’m using them as well… although I don’t find them particularly comfortable… but, what the heck.

However, it’s not necessary for all things… and I leave the HP’s off when I can. Our older dvd’s are crystal clear… some more recent one’s are mumbling…

and we’re watching episodes of The Booze Cruise on U-Tube at the moment… OH with his HPhones and me with the sound set nice and low… and I can hear every word… no problem.

I’ll get OH to read this topic later… and see if there is anything to be done with our set-up.

cheers everyone…

If I didn’t live in the middle of nowhere then I’d let you borrow it for a few days to see if it helps, as it’d be annoying to buy one and find it makes no difference.

If you do decide to pick one up then perhaps buy it from Amazon as their returns policy is very good if you decide it isn’t worth it.

There is a huge difference between one soundbar and another. They are convenient but low cost ones are often not great, might be louder than the tv but quality wise not much better. I bought a Samsung HW650, after going shopping for something much cheaper in the sales, youngster just kept turning it louder which to me sounded terrible. Thankfully another salesman same age as me knew what I meant and showed me the Samsung and its is the one he bought, big step up in quality and clarity.
3 years on, gone back to stereo hifi linked to the TV by e-arc for simplicity and in all honesty much much better than the soundbar and you can buy that for less.


Will do! I use Amazon quite a lot.

I’ll make darn sure as well that before I order anything, to ask around. I have a musician friend who has HUGE speakers with his record-playing set-up. I’m sure he might be able to point me somewhere.

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I use the mute button on my telecommand - use it a lot.

Don’t know if it’s my imagination but I think I had a tv once which reduced the volume whenever tv ads came on. Or was that wishful thinking?

Absolutely. We have subtitles on for everything these days except news/sport.

As the Guardian article well describes, the poor sound is probably due to multiple causes but the result is undeniable. It’s not us!

Strikes me too, that acting style now is often more like talking to themselves and quicker speech. Add to that the mobile mikes, increased background sounds and poor home unit speakers and it’s no wonder everyone needs to turn on subtitles.

There may also be something in that theatrical training for pronunciation and projection is not what it used to be. Accents and different cultural signatures are fine, TV and films are fine being realistic (except sci-fi!) but reality today does mean that many people do not enunciate at all clearly. “She sells sea shells….” “Betty Botter bought some butter….” It’s muscles, and speakers are getting lazy.

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Great point. We used to feed the TV sound through the hifi and that sounded great.

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One benefit of using my (wireless bluetooth) headphones is that my wife is a little hard of hearing and she likes a volume level that is too high for me. This is mainly with programme material with less than ideal audio as discussed.
I can adjust the volume on my headphones to suit my requirement. I use Sony noise cancelling headphones. If you have bluetooth on your tv and on a decent radio like a modern Roberts, you may be able to use the radio for tv sound or even a cable connection between the two if the tv has an analog audio output. The radio would of course be monophonic and not stereo in most cases but sound quality could be very good.