Introduction: Basics - DVD Audio for the Hearing Challenged

The problem is that I have been hearing challenged to the tune of about 30% hearing loss all of my life. As I grow older--seventies now--my hearing grows much, much worse. At my recent visit, my otolaryngologist told me that no hearing aid would be of much value anymore. (Don't tell any audiologist that, though, they insist they can do miracles for about $10K-$20K.) No, digital hearing aids don't do anything for me. I have analog hearing aids that help somewhat. In Sunday school I have to sit on Deaf Row with the other elderly folks who can't hear. We face the class so we can do some lip-reading.

Back to the current issue. I like to watch movies--mostly movies I borrow for free at the library. Generally, the most current movies have captioning for the deaf-and-hard-of-hearing. That works wonders for me. However, some of the movies that were popular when I was a younger person, never had captioning. Those are the ones that I'd like to see, and until I hit on this method, could never hope to understand.

In a nutshell, my setup is very simple and consists of a small, external speaker that I bought for about $20 at WalMart. It has a miniature phone jack for audio and a USB cable for charging the battery. With an extension cable for the audio, I string out the speaker to my couch potato nest and watch and hear the movie.

Step 1: Equipment

The equipment list is small. You need:

A television with some kind of external audio output

A DVD player

An external speaker, the second photo shows the style I like

An extension cable for stereo miniature phone plugs

Optional: RCA phono to miniature phone plug - this is needed for some televisions. I had one television that had a miniature phone jack and did not need this converter cable at all. You may be a lucky one.

Step 2: Setup

The setup is very easy.

  1. Charge the speaker battery. You can plug the USB cable into a computer and leave it until the LED light indicates that it is fully charged.
  2. Plug one end of the extension cable into the television, if you have a miniature phone plug jack in the television.
  3. Alternatively, plug in any converter cable that you need into the television.
    1. Plug the extension cable into the converter assembly, if needed.
  4. Plug the speaker cable into the extension cable.
  5. Drag the speaker to your favorite sofa, chair or recliner.
  6. Turn on the speaker (and the DVD player, and the television, and whatever else you need).
  7. Perch the speaker near one of your ears; preferably the ear that can turn speech into something your brain understands.
  8. Watch the movie!

Step 3: Other Things...

There are oodles of different kinds of external speakers out there. Different ones crop up every week. And, unfortunately, the best ones often seem to become obsolete and are no longer available.

What you want to do is whatever it takes to bring the audio where you can hear it and understand it.

I've tried a lot of things including wearing my hearing aid (Duh!) to no avail. This system works the best for me. I hope it does wonders for you as well.

BTW, if you have avoided movie theaters because you could not understand what the actors were saying; you may want to give them a second chance. There are a number of websites that tell you if closed captioning is available for the movie and at the theater you want to attend. Check them first. Here is one of them:

My local theaters give you a piece of electronic equipment for free that lets you see the closed captioning. Chances are that you will understand the movie a lot better than your friends who have normal hearing!