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Movie Theaters

Matthew S. Staben mstaben at umich.edu
Mon Jul 10 10:42:05 EST 1995

rpluta at crl.com (Robert Pluta) wrote:

>In article <3tk0t9$fje at coranto.ucs.mun.ca>, droberts at inseine.ifmt.nf.ca
>(Dion Roberts) wrote:

>> I love the theater 
>> atmosphere but I seldom go because I have much difficulty understanding the
>> dialog.  I tried the headphone set some theaters provide and it is a piece of
>> trash.

>Ooh, that's not good to hear since I've been telling all my patients about
>these assistive listening devices. Can you be more specific and tell us
>what was so trashy about the headphone you tried. Did you take the phones
>back to the lobby for replacement (bad set of phones?).

>Inquiring minds wanna know:)

It's really quite simple, Rob.  Many individuals, including myself,
are just deaf enough so that a hearing-aid provides a nearly
"corrective" situation, but with all the noise/compression/distortion.
Additionally, hearing-aids "muffle" sounds so that sharp consonants,
such as the "P", "CH", "S", "X" are interchangeable and require a
contextual base for understanding the words including these sounds.
SEARCH might sound like CHURCH, for example.  

Personally, I find it common for people to think that if something is
louder that it is for the better, but instead, it is usually for the
worse!  For myself, comprehension is best when the words are spoken at
a low level.  The louder the words, the less the comprehension.  The
reason for this is that these consonants are made "obvious".  

To summarize, a listening device is usually only good if one can
manipulate the sound spectrum.  Good headphones on a good stereo
allows me to hear things I had not known to exist simply because I am
able to tone down the things I hear well, and bring up (possibly much
to my remaining hearing's detriment) the sounds I don't hear well;
such as cymbals and glockenspiels.  It's not the phones, but the
ability to put high volume to where the hearing loss is worst; and not
across the whole range.  


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