Television volume can be festive flashpoint for Christmas viewers

Christmas telly
13 Dec 2016 12:50:01.540
PA 291/16

For many households, crowding around the television for a family film or to watch the Queen’s speech is as much of a Christmas tradition as opening presents and enjoying a turkey dinner.

But in homes where one family member has a hearing aid, settling down to watch the box can become a festive flashpoint - leading to arguments about volume and tussles over the TV remote.

In a bid to promote peace on earth – and in the living room – researchers at The University of Nottingham are recruiting hearing aid TV viewers and their partners to find their ideal listening levels for viewing harmony.
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Professor Deb Hall, Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), said: “One of the most common complaints in households where one person is a hearing aid user is that they listen to the TV or radio turned up far too loud.

“Family Christmas time is when this problem happens a lot as people all gather round the TV together. In the run up to the festive period, our research group is launching a new study which investigates this complaint.”

The study is aiming to recruit around 50 hearing aid users and their partners to take part in a test in a special listening laboratory, where the researchers will measure comfortable TV listening levels separately for the hearing aid wearer and their partner, along with some questionnaires and a hearing test. The team has also devised an online survey for people who would like to take part but can’t spare the time to come into the lab.

Hearing loss is a highly common condition that affects one in six people in the UK alone. The consequences of hearing loss are wide-ranging and often impacts on partners and family members.

Impact of hearing loss

In addition to preferred listening volume, the Nottingham study will also investigate if and how television viewing habits may have changed for people with hearing loss. The hearing aid users and their partner will be asked to attend a two-hour session at the NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU during which researchers will measure the volume at which they prefer to watch television while watching a series of short, pre-selected television clips consisting of British documentaries, film, weather broadcasts and the news.

Volunteers will be asked to watch the clips separately and to set the volume and then come together to watch more TV segments and to set the preferred volume together.

Both participants will also be asked to complete a series of other listening tasks and questionnaires including:

• A hearing test to assess hearing
• An online survey on viewing habits
• A short questionnaire to assess listening ability in different environments and to gather information on daily television viewing
• An online survey relating to the impact of hearing loss on everyday life.

The measures of the preferred volume will be analysed by the researchers who are hoping to use the results to make recommendations on how hearing aid users can more readily reach agreement over TV volume with their partners.

People who are interested in the research but unable to get into the lab can take part in the survey online at

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR is the research arm of the NHS. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website.  

Story credits

More information is available from Venessa Vas, trained audiologist and PhD student in the School of Medicine, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 823 2838,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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