Victoria and BBC English

Victoria and BBC English

Victoria and BBC English

Dr. C here!

Did you know that I actually have a degree in history from before I found the field of audiology? I love history and good storytelling! I also spent a semester abroad in London during my junior year of college.

I absolutely love historical fiction and imaginings, both in books an in film! My newest favorite is Masterpiece Theater’s Victoria. It is just beautifully done.

One of my most common complaints from patients is understanding british accents on television and in films. Any accent or dialect that is less familiar will certainly require more effort to follow. This is true without hearing loss, and much more true when hearing loss is present.

I find that when the dishwasher is running or our fish tank is making more noise than usual, I do need to increase the television volume much louder than I normally would when watching BBC programs.

This goes back to the theory of cognitive effort. “Cognitive effort” or “cognitive load” refers to how hard the brain has to work to learn something or perform a task. Many things can affect cognitive effort. For example, when you are driving somewhere new, you might turn down the radio to help you focus on navigating.

When you are sick, in pain, or in a new environment, cognitive load increases. Extraneous noise also increases the cognitive effort of listening, because “tuning out” unwanted sounds is a task that the brain has to exert effort to do. This is exactly what is happening when you are watching a BBC program – you need to work harder or increase the volume to follow the dialog.

Reducing competing sounds and increasing the volume (within reason) can help. Many flat screen televisions have compromised sound quality, and a sound bar can improve your enjoyment of such programs, as well. Assistive devices such as TVEars or streaming systems can give you a direct connection to the sound.

Closed Captioning is available for most programs, and it is quite a helpful tool. Of course, if you are struggling to follow the dialog where others are not, or you have tried a few of these tricks and are still having trouble hearing, give us a call! We have many strategies to reduce auditory cognitive load and help you enjoy your programs!

Dr. C is an #otogeek. If this hasn’t been nerdy enough, here are a few abstracts and editorials with more information on cognitive effort and hearing loss:

Hearing Loss and Cognitive Effort in Older Adults’ Report Accuracy for Verbal Materials

Summary by James Jerger, Father of Audiology

Cognitive Load and Listening Effort: Concepts and Age-Related Considerations

Listening Effort and Cognition