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BBC and the hard of hearing

(51 Posts)
Rosina Fri 26-Jul-19 17:38:03

I read this morning that the BBC is to run a new service; after many many complaints about mumbling actors and music that drowns out the dialogue, those who find it a struggle to follow programmes can deploy a small device - I think it said a 'slider' function on the screen - to quieten the background noise and make the dialogue clearer.
Is it just me, or isn't a much easier solution to simply lower the volume of music overall and get actors to speak properly and not mumble? I have endured several programmes of late where the 'atmospheric music' - or screeches and groans produced on instruments to indicate rising tension and danger - has reached such a pitch that I have hastily put my fingers in my ears. 'Jamaica Inn', shown a few years back, received so many complaints about mumbling - and yet if I listen to the news or watch old black and white films the newsreaders of today and actors of yesterday speak clearly and there is no need for any other assistance. How much will this latest ploy cost I wonder - when 'SPEAK UP ' might be all that is needed for actors , and a volume control for background music.

Alima Fri 26-Jul-19 17:58:27

Totally agree Rosina. We need actors who can project or speak clearly at least. Will never forgive Eddie Redmayne for mumbling all through Birdsong.

Ilovecheese Fri 26-Jul-19 18:15:02

I suppose that the BBC can't do much about the actors, so the option to reduce the volume of the background music is something.

toscalily Fri 26-Jul-19 19:20:10

I have also become annoyed at background sound levels on some programmes, totally drowns out the dialogue. As well as actors being able to speak clearly it would help if they did not go over the top with accents, too strong and it becomes incomprehensible. This is probably done with the aim of being totally PC especially by the BBC but does not achieve its aim if you have to use sub titles.

Gaunt47 Fri 26-Jul-19 19:30:20

I'm not hard of hearing but I find I'm using sub titles more often nowadays. I have a problem with programmes from America: the men all mutter huskily and the women have nasal whines. And don't get me started on background music!

Ilovecheese Fri 26-Jul-19 19:36:14

Subtitles can be quite funny though. When Rory Stuart said machismo on one of the debates the subtitles read 'machie smoke'

RosieLeah Fri 26-Jul-19 19:48:36

This has nothing to do with having hearing problems. The problem lies with the programme makers who still insist on drowning out dialogue with intrusive music, even though the public is constantly complaining about it. Many times I have looked forward to a documentary but have had to stop watching because I couldn't hear what was being said. Such a waste of resources!

infoman Fri 26-Jul-19 19:51:51

I just wish ANY radio station would not do dub overs with some one is speaking in their native tongue.
Its bad enough trying to listen to one voice let alone two at the same time.

RosieLeah Fri 26-Jul-19 19:57:20

On the subject of the local radio station can't even have the news without a constant boom boom boom in the background. Are there really so many people who can't live without constant noise?

Septimia Fri 26-Jul-19 20:19:35

I don't think you have to be hard of hearing to find that the actors mumble and the background noise drowns them out.

DH and I hate the music that always seems to be played behind the traffic news on the radio. It's always frenetic and makes you anxious just when you need to keep calm to deal with the traffic jams!

Calendargirl Fri 26-Jul-19 21:30:18

On a different note, I find it annoying after a programme finishes, if I’m trying to read the names of cast members etc., the screen reduces in size, a disembodied voice waffles on about a future programme, then at the end the screen goes back to original size but too late to see what I want.

Matelda Sat 27-Jul-19 09:14:21

I put subtitles up on the screen for quite a lot of modern drama. As far as I can see, this option is always available and doesn’t seem to detract from viewing quality.

polnan Sat 27-Jul-19 09:17:23

gosh y`all make me feel so much better.. I thought I was losing my hearing. yes subtitles can be funny

cookiemonster66 Sat 27-Jul-19 09:29:12

where did you read that Rosina? I have been searching more about it and cannot find anything? I am quite deaf, two hearing aids, TV always on subtitles as no point with sound as I cannot hear them talk due to background music and mumbles! This would be fab!

Nannyme Sat 27-Jul-19 09:32:48

We watch BBC breakfast news and whilst most of the presentation is clear and audible it irritates me when they chat amongst themselves, talk over each other and giggle when I have absolutely no idea what is being said, anyone else notice this lately?

Aepgirl Sat 27-Jul-19 09:35:55

It’s not just mumbling actors and loud music that needs to be addressed, but also dim ‘atmospheric ‘ lighting, and the showing of text messages on mobile phones. I thought it was because my TV screen is too small, but a much younger friend of mine says she had problems reading these texts on her large screen. Sub-titles do not put these texts on the screen.

EEJit Sat 27-Jul-19 09:35:58


I don't know if it's the same article, but here is one

Dianehillbilly1957 Sat 27-Jul-19 09:38:18

Totally agree, sick of trying to watch programmes with mumbling actors, filmed in the dark, peering to see whose talking to who! Background music blaring. Many times I've turned TV off.
Maybe ALL TV companies should refuse to to purchase these programmes. Maybe then producers will do something about it..

Rosina Sat 27-Jul-19 09:49:37

cookiemonster I read it yesterday morning on the front page of the Times.

maddyone Sat 27-Jul-19 10:15:05

Another one here who often finds it difficult to distinguish the speech on television programmes. I think mumbling is a big problem with many actors these days. I have to have the volume on loud most of the time in order to hear.

Rissybee Sat 27-Jul-19 10:33:28

Things have improved for me since I had my hearing checked and discovered I have a low frequency hearing loss for which I wear aids while watching tv. But they don’t help with mumbly actors. Or mumbly anybody.

Margs Sat 27-Jul-19 10:34:00

It's the actors not the technology - there was never this problem with the likes of Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates etc, (plus my all-time fave Donald Sinden.)

I believe it's quite a bunfight to get into R.A.D.A......and then they come out mumbling and grumbling like a tenth rate Marlon Brando.

cc Sat 27-Jul-19 10:47:15

I'm not deaf at all but still find that I need the subtitles on. I agree with Gaunt47 and have particular problems with many America programmes but wonder if their accents, huskiness and nasal whining are more intelligible to other Americans?
I'm assuming that we'd need to buy new TV's to use this service so it really seems a bit pointless for most of us. As others have said they should simply speak more clearly and turn the music down - it is supposed to be background music after all.

cc Sat 27-Jul-19 10:50:06

And like Calendargirl I find the shrinking of the picture size during the listing at the end really irritating.

TerriBull Sat 27-Jul-19 10:54:43

Whether or not I'm becoming hard of hearing, I do think there are a lot of mumbling actors around these days. I find Americans particularly hard to understand, at times, they might as well be speaking another language, that wasn't always the case for me.