The Bottom Line — 16 Comments

  1. If you have tinnitus then your hearing is going to be impaired. It is usual that hearing loss occurs only at certain frequencies so you can probably hear music ok, but the human voice is a different matter. I recommend that you see an audiologist and get tested. Modern hearing aids are fantastic and most have bluetooth built in so you can connect to your mobile, computer, tv etc.

    • I have been tested by audiologists and the result is nearly always the same – perfect hearing across a large spectrum apart from one drop-off at one frequency which coincides with the Tinnitus. The only strange side effect [which is apparently common] is that I can’t hear two things simultaneously. If there is any background noise such as music or a passing vehicle, I can’t hear speech clearly.

  2. I have exactly the same issue and it varies massively from program to program. Unfortunately the wife refuses to have subtitles on so lots of programs I don’t watch at all.

    The most recent example was True Detective, Woody Harleson just mumbled every word, and Matthew McConaughey just whispered the whole time, completely unwatchable which is a shame as it has great reviews.

    • I have found that the worst are modern American films. We started watching Bloodlines last night and half the time the background sound drowned out the speech and the rest pf the time they were murmuring their lines, Subtitles are essential!

      I discovered after a couple of episodes of Bloodlines there are apparently thirty three episodes! Are they fucking serious?

      • I run across the problem from all countries even UK programs. But you are correct it’s always the background sound drowning out the voices and/or actors not speaking clearly (the latter can compensate for the former sometimes)

  3. It is the same in UK originated “dramas”. The actors mumble and the foreground noise increases.
    Just watch / listen to an old Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes, Morse.And others of that ilk.
    And another winge. Now that we have Super HD tv they shoot the scenes in poor light and slightly blurred. Why.
    The US dramas have scenes with every light, upwards of ten per room, on but still the scene is gloomy.
    It is all a plot to get us used to mediocrity.

    • I have noticed a tendency to set a lot of scenes in darkness. Maybe that’s okay for a horror film but night time action seems to be very common these days. Or maybe it’s just the films I watch?

  4. It’s not just you. Watch any rerun of a film or TV drama over about 20years old and the speech is perfectly understandable. But most of the actors back then grew up with theatre experience and training, speech was slower, diction much better, and sound effects were often added afterwards so not to cover the speech. Even with accents, broad scotts, Irish or rural, they were still easy to follow. The modern trend for the in-the-street live recording and ‘natural’ conversation is absolutely hopeless, especially the US stuff where they talk at what seems like twice normal speed.
    Doonhamer is also right about the picture quality. Old stuff was always clearly lit, now just because the camera is better they don’t seem to bother so the final result is dark, badly focussed and murky, far worse than old technology in the hands of an expert producer and camera operator.

  5. Apart from the excessive background soundtracks, it may also relate to the experience of current actors.
    Back in the day, a successful actor was distinguished by the ability to ‘project’ the voice, even an apparently quiet phrase, such that it could be heard clearly in the most remote corners of any dusty old flea-pit theatre. Few modern actors have ever needed to develop that vocal skill, all their performing being microphone and camera based, so deliver their lines in a standard speech mode, making it often hard to hear over any background noise.

    • I have mused on that theory myself. Nowadays a lot of actors head straight for film or television, where the sound engineers can try their best to pick up mumbled speech. Actors with stage experience will [or should] know the art of voice projection and diction. I’m not saying everyone should shout all the time but there’s no point in learning lines if no one can hear them?

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