by Olaf Strelcyk, Gurjit Singh
TV listening plays a large role in the lives of hearing-impaired (HI) individuals. Yet, few studies have examined TV listening in this group. In this paper, we report the findings of an online survey on TV listening conducted among HI individuals with and without hearing aids (HAs) in the United States in 2015. The research investigated if and in what form TV listening experiences of unaided and aided HI individuals might differ with regard to their viewing habits, difficulties they experience, and compensation strategies they employ. 515 HI people of ages 50+ years participated, 260 of whom owned HAs. HA users reported that they watched TV or video on average for 6 hours 10 min per day, 57 minutes longer than the duration reported by non-HA owners. Furthermore, HA users indicated fewer difficulties when watching TV than non-HA owners, suggesting that HA usage alleviated difficulties with TV listening. Nevertheless, the most frequent problems were still encountered by more than 39% of the HA users. Difficulties increased with greater self-reported unaided hearing disability, and female participants indicated more problems than male participants. Finally, those with carpeted floors reported fewer difficulties than those without carpets. The most frequently used compensation strategies were changing TV or HA volumes and using closed captioning. Only few HA users used audio streaming accessories. Given the exploratory nature of this study, further research is needed to inform interventions and improve the TV listening experiences of HI viewers.