How to hear tv sound without blasting everyone else out

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Through a dock like this, sound from the attached phone can be sent to a specific user’s ears. (Photo: Noveto Systems)

BARCELONA — For Your Ears Only means of course that the words being spoken are only intended for you.

An Israeli startup I met up with recently at Mobile World Congress called Noveto Systems has developed “Private Sound” technology that can literally beam audio to your ears and your ears only, while the person right next to you cannot hear a thing.

There’s no whispering, no one’s wearing headphones, and Noveto has accomplished this remarkable feat of audio hocus-pocus – what it describes as the “next generation of human machine vocal interface” – without wires.

I was treated to a demonstration during MWC and the technology worked, however imperfectly. Noveto docked an Android phone into an industrial prototype that resembled an ordinary speaker dock. The phone was connected via Bluetooth.

Noveto successfully sent sound off the phone – notably the reading “out loud” of text messages – to each of my ears, first one ear at a time and then both at the same time.

I did detect considerable static and the volume level was low. But the mere fact that Noveto can do this at all is impressive.

The diagram below gives you a sense for how it works. The way the company explains it, 3D sensors lock onto the outline of your face and track your head as you move in one direction or another, in my particular demo within a defined space of a few feet, as if I were sitting at a desk.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

How Private Sound gets to your ears. (Photo: Noveto Systems)

The range is actually determined by the camera. The idea is that you can “pair” your face to the Noveto system so that sound is only directed your way. Or depending on how things are set up, the system might automatically lock onto the “most dominant” face it sees in the room.

Where your head is, and the desired audio signals, are somehow combined into acoustical waves that drive special transducers, beaming the sound only to your ears. Audio is continually steered to your ears electronically as you move, so long as you remain in range.

Noveto’s ultimate plan is to embed the technology into phones, TVs, computers, game consoles, virtual reality headsets, and various IoT (Internet of Things) devices. The company claims it will be market ready by year end but didn’t mention any specific partners.

If successful, you can easily imagine any number of potential use cases:

You’re watching television late at night while your spouse wants to go to sleep. You can hear the sound off the TV. Your partner gets silence.

The next morning when one of you has to wake up ahead of the other, only the designated person will hear the alarm clock.

Under another scenario, you might be driving in a car when a call comes over the hands-free speakerphone. You need to take the call but don’t want the passengers to hear. In another car example, you as the driver hear the turn by turn directions from the vehicle’s navigation system. The other people in the car can’t hear the directions.

Noveto could be used in advertising, too. As you walk by a street sign you might hear a commercial. And I’m told the technology can recognize a male from a female thus delivering a gender-appropriate ad. Lest you worry about getting bombarded with such ads as you walk the streets, you’d be able to gesture in some fashion to indicate that you want to hear such an ad – or not.

Indeed, through gesturing, you’ll be able to toggle between private only or everyone-can-hear sound modes.

Multiple audio beams are also possible. That means each person somewhere can theoretically listen to their own musical choices without donning headphones.

And multiple beams also suggest that two or more people might be able to hear audio from the very same source, only at different volume levels. Thus your elderly parent who is hearing-impaired can crank up the volume on the TV without blasting everyone else out. So can your teenager.

Noveto also says that surround sound effects that only you can hear are possible.

All this sounds very promising in theory, but I want to see, or rather hear more from Noveto, as its technology moves closer to any kind of market reality. Suffice it to say, I’m all ears.

I would like to know How to fix very low dialogue but very loud sound effects in the movies? The difference between the voice and the sound effects\/music are really huge, that is why most of the time when I watch movies I turn the volume up really high to hear their conversation and I turn it down when the sound effects are playing because it\u0027s too loud. I use a soundbar which is LGSH5B connected to my LG50\u0027\u0027 6300LB TV via HDMI. What should I do to balance these sounds? Also the dialogue gets much better when I turn the (Netflix movie) sound setting of the movie from 5.1 to stereo but the downside is the sound effects are not as amazing as 5.1. I would like to have the sound effects of 5.1 but with clearer dialogue. Thank You! “,”url”:”https:\/\/\/forums\/discussions\/how-to-fix-very-low-dialogue-but-very-loud-sound-effects-1\/”,”popupWidth”:780,”popupHeight”:510,”data”:<"media":"">,”scrollToComments”:true>’>

I would like to know How to fix very low dialogue but very loud sound effects in the movies? The difference between the voice and the sound effects/music are really huge, that is why most of the time when I watch movies I turn the volume up really high to hear their conversation and I turn it down when the sound effects are playing because it’s too loud. I use a soundbar which is LGSH5B connected to my LG50” 6300LB TV via HDMI. What should I do to balance these sounds? Also the dialogue gets much better when I turn the (Netflix movie) sound setting of the movie from 5.1 to stereo but the downside is the sound effects are not as amazing as 5.1. I would like to have the sound effects of 5.1 but with clearer dialogue. Thank You!

George Tinari

14 Jun 2016

An age-old problem of watching TV is that everyone around you has to hear what you’re watching. That might be a problem to you or that very well might be a problem to them. Subtitles sometimes alleviate the issue, but the experience isn’t the same as hearing the voices and expressions, especially for music.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Use these tips to still enjoy your down time without getting in anyone’s way | Shutterstock

So the question is, how is it possible to watch your favorite TV program directly on your television in a way that no one else can hear it? Get ready, because we have not one, but three different solutions that are all easy and affordable… and one even totally free.

Use Tunity

Tunity is a free app for iOS and Android that feels nothing short of futuristic and weird, but it works. Tunity has you hold your smartphone up to the live TV channel you’re watching. It scans in just a few seconds to determine which channel is on, then streams the synced audio to your phone so you can listen.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Then, it’s just a matter of muting the TV and plugging your headphones into your phone. It works beautifully. If there are audio sync issues, and I encountered a few, you can fine tune the sync by fast forwarding or rewinding ever so slightly until it’s perfectly aligned with the television.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Tunity is right now the best way to privately listen to live TV and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Buy Wireless TV Headphones

If the problem of listening to TV is one you run into often at home, perhaps you’d want to invest in some wireless TV headphones. They’re designed to transmit the audio from your television directly to your headphones.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

As is usually the case with these products, you’ll have to toy around with the receiver at first to get a clear signal from the TV but once you’ve done that, you’re golden.

A quick search on Amazon will get you a few solid options. You can always go for the set from Jelly Comb for $24.99, or splurge for higher end cups closer to $100 by TV Ears.

Get a Roku

Roku 3 and Roku 4, the high-end models of the streaming set-top box, have headphone support. The included headphones plug right into the remote so you can watch television in bliss. In fact, it should be able to work with any headphones that fit into a 3.5 mm headphone jack so feel free to use your own.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

The only downside is that in order to watch TV and hear the audio in private, you need to be watching something that’s on Roku. The service has a wide variety of available content, but this still means you won’t be able to watch live TV as part of your cable subscription.

The Roku 3 is available for $99.99 and the Roku 4, which supports 4K televisions, is $129.99.

Last updated on 13 Feb, 2018
The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

September 29, 2016, 1:04pm EDT

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

You fire up Skype and suddenly everything on your computer is radically quieter. While that’s great for ensuring you don’t blast your video conference partners with music it can also be a detriment when it mutes sounds you need to hear. Read on as we fix the Skype silencing issue.

Lately I’ve been using Skype to talk to my nephew while we play video games together. It works pretty well as a voice chat channel while we’re playing, but there’s one super annoying feature that I can’t seem to fix.

Everytime I start Skype, Skype seems to nearly mute all other audio (every audio source but Skype is probably only 10-20% its previous volume). I’ve looked everywhere in the Skype menus, but I can’t find a single thing that indicates any sort of control over this volume-dampening effect.

I can manually open up the Windows Volume Mixer from the system tray and fiddle with each individual volume control for each individual audio source but that’s 1) a huge pain and 2) only temporary as the second I shut down Skype and start it again then all the volumes are automatically decreased.

What gives? How do I fix this?

The reason you can’t find any setting in Skype to control the sweeping volume adjustments that occur when you run Skype concurrently with other sound-producing apps (like your video game) is because it isn’t actually Skype that’s performing the adjust.

Windows automatically recognizes Skype as an audio/video chat communication tool and, by default, assumes that when the communication tool is active that you would like all the other system sounds to be hushed in order to both hear your partner more clearly and not have those sounds blast your microphone and create a bunch of interruptions and background noise.

In your application, however, you likely want to hear the game sounds (wearing headphones to isolate the sounds from the microphone is ideal here) and the person you’re chatting with. In order to adjust things we’ll have to head into the Windows Control Panel.

Navigate to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound and then select the Communications tab (you can also jump to the Sound settings by typing mmsys.cpl in the run dialog box).

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

By default Windows automatically adjusts the volume of other sounds by 80% (your guess that the sounds were 10-20% their prior volume was quite a good one). You can select to have the sounds only reduced by 50%, to be completely muted, or for Windows to do nothing at all.

In your situation it’s ideal to set it to do nothing at all and then, if you find any particular sound is too loud, you can open up the Volume Mixer and make small adjustments as necessary.

You don’t need to share your TV’s audio with everyone around you. These are the easiest ways to connect your headphones to your television.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

When you’re watching TV with friends, your TV’s speakers (or better yet, a soundbar) let everyone hear what’s going on. When you’re watching TV on your own, you don’t need to share that audio with everyone around you. In fact, you probably don’t want to disturb your significant other, roommates, kids, or neighbors if you’re the only one watching TV late at night, or if you’re using your TV as a second monitor while working from home. You can mute the speakers and rely on closed captions if you really want to be silent, but we have a better solution: Use headphones.

Headphones let you listen to anything you want without bothering anyone around you. You probably use them mostly for listening to music or podcasts, or even watching videos on your phone or computer, but they aren’t limited to mobile devices or PCs. There are several ways to connect your headphones to your TV to enjoy the combined benefits of private audio and a big screen. Here are the ways you can use your favorite headphones or earphones with your TV.

Direct Wired Connection

This is the most direct and obvious way to use your headphones with your TV. It’s also the least convenient. If your TV has a 3.5mm headphone jack, just plug your wired headphones into it. If your TV doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack, but has RCA stereo outputs, get an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter and use your headphones that way.

The obvious problem here is that you need a really long wire to listen a comfortable distance away from your TV. And even if you have that wire, you’re then physically tethered to your TV. You have to be careful not to pull the cable or trip over it, and it just isn’t very pleasant to work with. We don’t really recommend this method unless your TV is a small screen right near you, and even then it probably isn’t the best way to do it.

Amazon Fire TV: Bluetooth

If you have an Amazon Fire TV media streamer, or a TV that uses Amazon’s Fire TV platform, you have a wireless option built in: Bluetooth. Fire TV can connect directly to Bluetooth devices like game controllers, keyboards, and headphones. This means you can simply pair your favorite Bluetooth headphones (or a dedicated second pair, if you want to keep some TV-only headphones nearby) with your Fire TV device just like it’s a smartphone.

From the home screen, go into the Settings menu and select Controllers & Bluetooth Devices. Choose Other Devices, then Add New Device. Put your Bluetooth headphones into pairing mode and select them when they appear on the screen. Your Fire TV will now stream audio to your headphones when they’re connected.

Android TV: Bluetooth

Just like with Fire TV (which itself is based on Android), Android TV devices can pair with Bluetooth devices. This means you can use your Bluetooth headphones with any Android TV-powered Sony or Hisense TV, or Nvidia Shield TV media streamer. The process is very similar to pairing Bluetooth headphones to a Fire TV device.

From the home screen, go into the Settings menu and select Remote & Accessories. Choose Add Accessory and put your Bluetooth headphones into pairing mode. Select the headphones in the menu when they appear. Your headphones are now paired with your Android TV device.

Roku TV: Smartphone App

Roku media streamers and Roku TVs like the TCL 6-Series and Hisense R8F series don’t have Bluetooth, but they still let you listen wirelessly to whatever you’re watching. Roku’s answer is called Private Listening, a feature that streams audio to a connected smartphone or tablet through the Roku app.

Install the Roku app (available on Android and iOS) to your mobile device and set it up to work with your Roku streamer or TV. Once the app is connected, plug headphones into your phone to automatically cut out audio going to the TV and send it directly out through your phone’s headphone jack.

Some Roku devices, like the Roku Ultra and certain high-end Roku TV models, don’t even need the Roku app to work. If your Roku remote has a headphone jack on the side, it can offer Private Listening without your smartphone. Just plug your headphones (or the earphones included with the Roku Ultra) into the jack and listen to whatever you’re watching, privately.

Bluetooth Transmitter

If your TV or media streamer doesn’t support Bluetooth or audio streaming through an app, you need to get some form of transmitter for wireless listening. Bluetooth transmitters are inexpensive (generally around $20 to $50) devices you plug into the back of your TV to wirelessly stream audio to a nearby paired Bluetooth audio device.

There are many, many Bluetooth transmitters available on Amazon, but not all are suitable for TVs. Cheaper transmitters only connect through 3.5mm jacks, which are present on some TVs but aren’t the best connection available. Look for a transmitter with an optical audio (TOSLink or SPDIF) input; optical outputs are the most common audio outputs on TVs, and provide excellent, stable audio quality thanks to their digital connection.

While we haven’t tested many of these transmitters, they’re very common to find online for a low price. The TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 transmitter is one of the most well-reviewed devices of its category on Amazon, and supports both 3.5mm and optical audio (though we can’t directly comment on its quality as a product ourselves).

Wireless Gaming Headset

If you don’t already have preferred headphones to use when watching TV, or don’t want to deal with Bluetooth pairing, you can always get an all-in-one solution in the form of wireless headphones and gaming headsets. You just need to make sure they aren’t Bluetooth headphones.

The vast majority of “wireless headphones” are Bluetooth, and that’s fine for most users. If you want to get headphones specifically for use with a TV, though, you want a non-Bluetooth set with a dedicated transmitter. Some specialty and high-end headphones are available in that realm, but you’ll have a much easier time searching for a wireless gaming headset that suits your needs.

The most important detail is to make sure the headset supports an optical audio input. Most inexpensive wireless gaming headsets only use USB adapters, and you’ll have to look at midrange or high-end pairs if you want one you can easily connect directly to your TV. We recommend the Astro Gaming A20, a $150 wireless headset that’s comfortable, offers very good sound quality, and supports optical audio for the transmitter. If you can really splurge, though, the $330 Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless sounds and feels even better, and features some very convenient extras, like two swappable batteries and Bluetooth connectivity on top of the transmitter.

Of course, you won’t be listening to your TV with headphones on all the time. So when you put the headphones down, check out our guide on how to set up your speakers to get the best sound for your home theater experience.

Solutions to improve the quality of life

Listening to the TV FAQ

Could you please tell me if there are any headphones I can plug into my TV that will allow me to hear the TV whilst other people listen to programs through the TV’s normal speakers?

No, such headphones do not exist.

This is a regular question we get asked. Turning off the TV sound is actually nothing to do with the headphones. It is a design feature of your TV that its headphones socket automatically cuts off the speaker sound. Some TVs (like mine at home) allow you to choose whether plugging into the headphone socket does or does not cut off the speaker sound – so it would be worth checking the instructions for your TV or ask your TV supplier for help.

Alternatively we do have a range of assistive wireless listening products which can be connected via a SCART connection – connecting via a SCART socket will not cut off the speaker sound so that other people can still hear the normal speaker sound. Note: you cannot use conventional headphones in a SCART socket.

If you are interested in our range of wireless assistive listening products you can find a feature comparison chart here or visit our online shopping store to choose and buy a wireless listening product – remember that you can make an online declaration to not pay VAT if you are eligible due to being hard of hearing.

To find this page again, search for: FAQTV04



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When it comes to the TV, I seem to have a hearing disability; I get the volume right for dialogue, then the house gets blown away when music crops up in a video.

It’s driving the household to distraction – everyone wants the sound turned down but then I can’t hear what the actors are talking about.

It’s a good LG widescreen 18 months old with sound delivered through a Pioneer amplifier and quality Wharfedale speakers.

I’m thinking a solution might be for me to wear headphones, connected either by wireless or cord. But that means plugging into the speaker outlet which in turn mutes the speakers, which are needed by others in the room.

How can I plug something into the sound outlet without muting the audio to others?

Any suggestions on this or other solutions?

I’m not sure if I really have a disability as I don’t have any problem listening to radio or my music collection. It’s only when the TV gets involved.

PS. Am I nuts or does the ABC’s channel 24 have a sound problem? I can flick through channels and sound levels always are even. But keying in 24 shakes the house until the audio is cut back.

Have a play with the Clear Voice settings the LG tv has. Might(?) help.

Have a look at the back of the amp & see if it has audio out connections – you can connect these to eg Sennheiser headphones. Speakers play like normal at lesser volume, you can adjust headphones volume separately to suit your needs.

Get the RF ones with the recharging metal stand thing.

It’s a good LG widescreen 18 months old with sound delivered through a Pioneer amplifier and quality Wharfedale speakers. I’m not sure if I really have a disability as I don’t have any problem listening to radio or my music collection. It’s only when the TV gets involved.

It may be that in optimising the room for music listening the TV sound has been compromised. This can happen if you have a situation like ours where the room’s layout meant the speakers had to be placed on different walls to the TV and well away from it. As a result music was fine but audio on the TV, particularly dialogue, sounded disconnected and muffled.

In the end we got a centre speaker and placed that directly under the TV. While I can understand that not everyone is a fan of centre speakers in this situation It really helped to link the audio to the TV. This is of course assuming you’re talking about an AVR with 5.1 or 7.1 capability and not just a stereo amp.

PS. Am I nuts or does the ABC’s channel 24 have a sound problem? I can flick through channels and sound levels always are even. But keying in 24 shakes the house until the audio is cut back.

+1, though in our case it seems worse when we stream from the iPad via the Apple TV than when we do it via the BD player.

For people who have hearing loss, or live with someone who is hard of hearing, a TV Ears amplifier headset makes TV viewing enjoyable for everyone. Having had two relatives with hearing problems who liked to blast the TV so they could hear their programs, I know firsthand how disturbing that can be for the rest of the household.
How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

And that’s biggest advantage of TV Ears — the wearer can adjust the volume of their TV Ears headset without affecting the sound coming out of the TV set! TV Ears even works with the TV volume set to “mute,” making it great for people without hearing loss who want to watch TV in bed without disturbing their partner. In fact, TV Ears has prevented many an argument between married couples who simply can’t agree on the volume setting.

What is TV Ears?

TV Ears is an amplified listening device for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, or people who want to listen to TV privately. A TV Ears set consists of a small transmitter that attaches to your television and a lightweight, wireless headset. The transmitter receives an audio signal from the TV and sends it to the headset via an infrared signal. When not in use, the transmitter base doubles as a recharging station for the headset. When fully charged, the headset delivers up to 6 hours of listening.

How does it Hook Up?

TV Ears is very easy to hook up. The transmitter is powered by electricity and plugs into any household outlet. It connects to your TV set with an audio cord (included) that plugs into the TV’s audio output jack.

How does TV Ears Work?

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else OutTV Ears uses wireless, speed-of-light 95 kHz infrared technology to transmit sound from your TV to the wireless headset. TV Ears works with just about any television, including plasma sets, and provides up to 120dB of amplification. The TV Ears 5.0 Analog System uses an infrared signal with a range of up to 600 square feet. The more powerful TV Ears 5.0 Digital System covers up to 900 square feet and its transmission technology won’t interfere with wireless telephones.

How does it Sound?

Great! Users rave about how clearly they hear with TV Ears. The headset allows users to adjust the volume, tone and balance to their personal preference, and the proprietary Voice Clarifying Circuitry™ automatically increases the clarity of TV dialogue and decreases the volume of background sounds such as music and sound effects.

Who can use TV Ears?

Anyone who has mild to moderate hearing loss can benefit from using TV Ears. People with normal hearing can also use TV Ears for private viewing or to improve listening on TV sets with poor volume output. Two or more people can use TV ears at the same time. The volume and tone of each headset adjusts independently. The transmitter base that comes with the TV Ears 5.0 Dual Digital TV Listening System holds and charges two TV Ears headsets at one time.

Does TV Ears work with Hearing Aids?

Yes, the TV Ears TV digital headsets are specifically designed for people who wear hearing aids to give them the added digital clarity and increased power to fully enjoy TV. And the headset can be worn with or without hearing aids. Many users find wearing a TV Ears headset without their hearing aids works better than hearing aids alone because TV Ears brings the sound right from your TV directly to your ears without picking up competing sounds in the room.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out


Gradual hearing loss can affect people of all ages, varying from mild to profound, yet only 35% of people with hearing loss are older than age 64. TV Ears is great for anyone of any age with hearing loss. If you or someone else in your family is having trouble hearing the television, or want to watch TV without disturbing others, a TV Ears system lets them listen at their preferred volume (even full blast!) without affecting anyone else.

Shortly after they were married, Brittany H. and her husband moved into an apartment in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood. With Victorian houses and vintage flats dotting the tree-lined streets, they assumed their new home would be a peaceful spot to build their life together.

But the couple got more than they bargained for. At all hours of the night, they heard strange and very loud sounds coming from the neighbors upstairs.

Brittany vividly recalls her first night in the unit: “It was midnight, and the upstairs neighbors sounded like they were dropping bricks on the floor. Our ceiling light fixture rattled from the loud, noisy pounding.”

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When their lease was up, the couple promptly moved to the top floor of a different apartment building—and Brittany says she’ll never live anywhere but a top floor again.

As a renter, you have to be ready for some day-to-day noise—that’s just part of living at close quarters with other people.

But if your walls are particularly thin or your neighbors are particularly loud (looking at you, upstairs noisy drum guy), are you doomed to a life of permanently wearing earplugs or lodging complaints with the police?

We won’t lie: Signing a lease might limit what you can do to fully soundproof your pad. But thankfully, there are several easy tricks to drown out your noisy neighbors—without your landlord freaking out.

Here are some of our favorites for dealing with this issue (so you won’t have to call the police).

1. Try ceiling clouds and acoustic fixtures

Say what now? Ceiling clouds are acoustic panels that hang from the ceiling and can reduce noise and echoes. (Science!) Take that, noisy neighbors.

You’ve probably seen them before in auditoriums, atriums, and restaurants. But they can do wonders for cutting down noise in your home, too.

Just make sure to check with your landlord before installing, since they need to be securely mounted to the ceiling.

If your landlord isn’t on board, there are other less invasive approaches to dissipate sound, including acoustic light fixtures (such as the BuzziLight from BuzziSpace) that claim to absorb sound.

But watch the price tag—such fixtures can range in price from around $700 to $1,175.

2. Rearrange your furniture

Have you ever lived next to a neighbor who plays the piano (or worse, an amped-up electric guitar) well past bedtime?

If the neighbor won’t knock it off, you don’t have to move (or file a complaint with the landlord or police). Just put some stuff between you and the pandemonium next door.

Start by placing bookcases or other heavy furniture against the dividing wall, covering as much of the wall as possible.

“The more mass between you and the neighbor, the less sound that will come through,” says Zach Ziskin, a recording engineer in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Then, rearrange fabric-covered sofas or chairs so that they’re close to windows and doors. And for more quiet, use lots of decorative pillows and throws.

“The heavier and denser the textile, the greater the absorption,” says Heather Humphrey, owner of the interior design firm Alder & Tweed, in Park City, UT.

3. Fill up your bathroom

If you can hear your neighbors flush the toilet, they can probably hear you, right? That’s because open spaces with tile and hard surfaces, such as a bathroom, amplify sound.

To give your privacy an upgrade, take a cue from tip No. 2 and bring in a small linen closet to place against the wall, Humphrey suggests.

Short on space? Fill the bathroom with wall coverings and soft goods such as rugs and towels, which is a pretty easy way of dealing with noisy neighbors and their sounds.

“The same principle goes,” she says. “The more you cover your walls, the greater the barrier to sound created.”

4. Seal the windows

Sometimes, the outside noise you hear in your apartment can be just as irritating as noise from your neighbors. And closing your windows isn’t always a cure-all—those sounds can trickle in regardless.

One way to dial it down? Make sure the window casings and frames are fully caulked and sealed. (You’ll want to call your landlord about this one.) Or use a window insert to make the seal more airtight, Ziskin says.

Even easier? Just hang some heavy curtains, which will help muffle any noise from outside.

5. Seal the doors

You’d be surprised by how much noise can seep in through the cracks around your door and ruin your quiet. Your best soundproofing efforts will be futile unless you address them.

Make sure there’s high-quality weatherstripping between the door and door frame to create a seal when closed, Ziskin says.

Likewise, if there’s an air gap between the bottom of the door and the floor, attach a heavy-duty door sweep or draft blocker to create a seal.

6. Hang wall art and tapestries

Because wall hangings and tapestries are porous, they can absorb sound and excessive noise.

If you’re conjuring up images of your college dorm room, don’t worry—there are tons of options these days that are beautifully on trend.

For instance, the heavy knotting in macramé makes it perfect for buffering noise and giving your place stylish flair.

Canvas wall art can also help absorb sound; consider adding a layer of foam to the hollow inside for extra buffer. Or try sound-absorbing felt panels—you can even use one to make a DIY bulletin board.

“It will add a decorative touch and keep you organized, while reducing noise levels,” says Dayna Hairston, interior designer at Dayziner in Cary, NC.

7. Add thick rugs with rubber backing

If you have wood floors, do yourself and your neighbor a favor, and throw down some area rugs. (Heck, if you have carpet, go ahead and do this, too—the more padding, the better.)

When buying a rug, seek out thick pile material or something with a rubber backing to muffle sound, Humphrey suggests.

8. Know your neighbors

Of course, it just isn’t always possible to completely soundproof your apartment. If you’re still fighting the urge to grab a broom and bang on the ceiling, it’s probably time to talk to the neighbors.

“If all else fails, invest in high-quality earplugs or a white noise machine,” Ziskin says.

Since moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and Office 2010 I am experiencing problems with audio. I make a presentation with various slides and insert audio from file, and the slides and audio play perfectly with extensions pptx and ppsx. The problem is I emailed the presentation to myself to test that everything was ok and there was no sound. I have tried and re-tried various audios to no avail. Could someone please help me. I have done many presentations using windows 7 and never had any problems. Thank you.

[Original Title: Powerpoint 2010]

Replies (7) 

Thank you for posting your query in Microsoft Office Community.

Your sound files are linked and not embedded. Music or sounds can be embedded into PowerPoint presentations only if you use a WAV file format.

Hope it helps. If you have further questions related to this, please let me know.

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Your sound files are linked and not embedded. Music or sounds can be embedded into PowerPoint presentations only if you use a WAV file format.”

That is absolutely untrue in 2010 though if you are copy pasting old answers it might have applied to earlier versions.

PowerPoint 2010 can embed most audio formats

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Please try the following:

  1. Find the file size of the presentation.
  2. Insert a sound file and save. Find the size of the presentation. If it’s not larger, the sound file was linked rather than embedded and will not travel with the PowerPoint file. Here’s an article that explains the difference: Embedded and linked sound files in a presentation
  3. If the file is larger, email it to yourself.
  4. Download the emailed presentation to your hard disk and check the file size. If it’s smaller, your sound file was stripped out in the sending process. If that’s the case, try zipping the presentation before emailing it and see if that helps.

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Hi Kathleen I used to not have problems with e mailing ppsx files into which I had embedded mp3 audio as used in power point 2010 and windows 7 however it appears that with some of the latest updates to windows 10 Microsoft has decided that the sound be blocked when emailed to friends. If you save the email into your video/powerpoint files, then go in there and right click on it go to properties and close to the bottom there is an unblocked box , tick this and the sound plays. Your friends would have to do the same . I have yet to get a reasonable answer from the Microsoft people on how to unblock the sound before sending it in an email. If you can get an answer I would appreciate you letting me know

Have a nice day

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You love loud music. But do you know that your headphones volume are killing your hearing?

Humans, by nature, love to switch up the volume. It makes their music sounds more “fun” and immersive. This is why headphones with v-shaped sound signature are popular. But, are you aware of the risks involved by constantly tuning into loud volumes? Do you even know what the recommended listening volumes are?

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else OutSound effects and their decibel chart

How Loud and How Long Should You Wear Your Headphones?

Experts recommend keeping sound levels at somewhere between 60 and 85 decibels to minimize the damage your ears are exposed to. If you are listening to music at around 100 decibels, restrict your usage to within 15 mins.

However, these are general guidelines and listening threshold is different for each individual.

Know your safety levels and protect your hearing with these six ways to determine whether or not your headphones are doing lasting harm to your ears.

1. Carry out the ringing test

This is an easy test that requires a simple pair of foam ear plugs and a peaceful setting. When possible, take some time off from using your headphones and ear-splitting music in its entirety; 2 or 3 days should do the trick.

After this period, go to a quiet room and place the earplugs in your ears. Try to focus on your hearing. Relax as much as you can, concentrate on your breathing and remain completely still.

During the silence, you should hear a very slight ringing in your ears – this is your baseline level.

The next day, resume headphone activity as normal. Then in the evening, redo the test in a quiet space. If the ringing is louder than it was in the earlier test, then the noise from your headphones is too powerful.

Repeat as regularly as you need to in order to gauge the effect of the volume level. When the ringing becomes more intense than your baseline level, it is time to turn it down a notch or two.

2. Hold your headphones out in front of you

It is so easy to forget that we can damage our hearing by listening to loud music. One test we recommend is to remove your headphones, keeping them at your preferred volume, and hold them out in front of you at an arm’s length. Can you hear the music clearly?

If so, try turning it down and repeating again. Always aim to take regular breaks during the course of the day to give your ears a much-needed rest.

3. Check the volume control

There is no denying that some music is best listened to at louder levels. And it’s so simple to crank up the volumes when your favorite track begins to play. It is important, though, to get into positive habits by ensuring that the volume stays below the halfway mark.

If you find it creeping up to over two-thirds of the volume control or over 60%, then it is too much for your ears. Hearing loss may not occur overnight, but you can prevent it from happening by monitoring those volumes on a regular basis.

4. Ask a friend for assistance

Ask your friend to sit beside you to check if they can hear your music through your headphones. If your music can be overheard distinctly, then it is obviously too deafening for your ears to handle. This test will work better if you are not using open-back headphones as they have a tendency to leak music regardless of the level of volume.

When your friend can easily pick up on sounds while sitting next to you, or even across from you, then it’s time to bring the volume down a couple of notches.

5. Look out for signs of hearing loss

You may already be experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and don’t realize it. Look out for symptoms such as:

  • Ringing, clicking, roaring, hissing or buzzing in the ears
  • Difficulty in hearing at rowdy venues
  • Muffled sounds
  • An increasing need to keep turning the volume up

6. Measure the sound level with a Sound Meter

A sound meter or a decibel meter is a device to measure sound levels in decibels. With this device, you can make use of the decibel chart above to measure if your headphones are too loud for you.

Take note that although it says 94 decibels is the average sound levels for personal audio devices, it is still pretty damn loud. Keeping the sound level 10 – 20 decibels below that level will give your ears much relief in the long term.

Sound meters are also not exactly very accurate but it gives a good gauge. The sound projected into your ears vs the sound picked up by the meter can potentially be very different. Take the measurement with a pinch of salt.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out Decibel Meter, Tacklife MLM02 Digital Sound Level Meter with Noise Measurement Reader Range 30-130dBA, Max/Min/Hold Data, Fast/Slow Mode, LCD Backlight Display/Flashlight (Battery Included)


Take a break where possible and keep the volume as low as you can to maintain your auditory enjoyment. It might also be in your best interests to opt for noise-cancellation headphones. Noise-cancellation headphones reduce the amount of ambient noise making it easier to listen to lower volumes.

While they are heavier weight-wise in most cases, noise-cancellation headphones can lessen the noise by up to 15 to 20 decibels. This is a marked improvement over standard headphones, and they are very useful in particularly noisy environments.

Exposure to loud noise over a long period can cause irreversible hearing loss. Therefore it is crucial that care and caution are exercised at the outset, particularly by younger, more inexperienced listeners. Moderation is definitely key to minimizing the damage to your hearing and avoiding issues such as tinnitus for as long as possible.

New ways to boost volume and clarity

by Marc Saltzman, AARP, November 20, 2017 | Comments: 0

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Courtesy of Yamaha

Sound bars sit just above or below the television screen and can better amplify audio than a TV’s built-in speakers.

En español | Considering nearly 50 million Americans now live with hearing loss, you bet a large number struggle to hear their TV clearly. And whether you’re the person with hearing loss, or the person sitting next to him on the couch, you know that turning up the volume on the TV isn’t always the best solution. Doing so not only can disturb others, it can actually make the TV audio sound even more garbled, especially if the sound is not well mixed between dialog, music and sound effects.

Sound familiar? The good news is there are solutions that can help. Which one you go with depends on a few factors like the severity of hearing loss and what’s most comfortable or feasible for you.

Sound bars

These sleek horizontal speakers that sit just above or below the television screen can better amplify audio than your TV’s built-in speakers will. Sound bars house multiple speakers inside of them, and some models even simulate surround-sound like a movie-theater experience. On the whole, their sound is similar to what you’d get if you combined an audio-video (AV) receiver plus multiple speakers placed throughout the room, but for less money and in less space.

What’s more, many sound bars ship with a wireless subwoofer to place somewhere else in the room, to deliver low-end bass (like feeling the rumble of a helicopter or roar of a dinosaur). Plus, nearly all new models have integrated Bluetooth technology, allowing you to stream music to the soundbar from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Wireless headphones

For private listening, you could also go with headphones that use wireless technology like Bluetooth, RF (radio-frequency) or IR (infrared). Typically, these headphones work with a base that plugs directly into the headphone jack of the television, and then transmits to the headphones. Most of these headphones go over the ears, therefore, they can be used with hearing aids.

Some Bluetooth-enabled smart TVs let you skip the base station and just sync your Bluetooth headphones with the TV itself. While the setup process will vary depending on the television manufacturer, in most cases you’ll open your TV’s Settings or Accessories menu, select Bluetooth options, and then set your TV to “pairing mode.” Then, you’ll simply put your Bluetooth headphones into pairing mode, too.

Hearing aids, loop systems

You probably already know that hearing aids are smaller and more powerful than ever. But newer models can also make a big difference with televisions in particular. Why? They have built-in Bluetooth connectivity, which means they are designed to pick up sound from digital devices.

What’s required is a small Bluetooth streaming box that connects to the TV, which acts as a middleman, of sorts. Whenever you’re within range of this small transmitter box (about 33 feet, on average), you’ll be able to hear the television in your hearing aids — loud and clear, and without any echoes or delays — and yes, you can adjust the TV’s volume independently from others in the room via a small remote or an app on your phone or tablet.

If a call comes in when you’re watching TV, choosing to answer it will switch you from the TV’s audio to that of your smartphone (or a Bluetooth cordless phone). When you hang up, the sound switches back to TV mode.

Another option is a “loop system” (sometimes called an “audio induction” loop), which is powered by a wireless magnetic field generated by a small hub plugged into the audio output of a television. The audio can then be picked up by a loop worn around the listener’s neck, compatible hearing aids or cochlear implant processors.

Closed captioning

However you choose to improve your TV’s sound, turning on its closed captioning option can help you catch even more of what’s being said on screen. Since 2006, according to the FCC, Congress has required that all television programs display audio content as text onscreen. Cable operators, satellite distributors and online providers are also required to provide closed captioning — though the latter, for example, wasn’t mandated until 2012, when the National Association of the Deaf sued Netflix in a Massachusetts court.

According to law, such captions need to be accurate (they must match the spoken words and background noises, to the greatest extent possible), synchronous (words onscreen must coincide with their corresponding spoken words and sounds to the fullest extent possible), complete (captions must run from the beginning of the program to the end) and properly placed (captions should not block other important visual information on the screen or run off the edge of the screen). In other words, they’re a pretty complete transcription of what’s being heard on screen.

How to enable closed captioning may vary slightly, but usually involves press Settings on your TV remote, and then selecting Closed Captioning in one of the submenus (such as Display).

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

We all know that listening to music at high volumes is bad for our ears. But what type of headphones should we be wearing to avoid maximum damage? And should we be taking any other sort of care to make sure we keep our eardrums as happy as possible into old age?

We were concerned about our own headphone use both in and out of the office, so we spoke with Dr. Brian Fligor, an audiologist — that is, a professional trained in hearing problems — who specializes in this issue.

Fligor, who holds a doctorate from Boston University, first gained attention as a headphones expert back in 2004, when he published a study on hearing loss specifically related to earbuds. You know the type — they became incredibly popular after iPods launched:

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Since then, Fligor has done a lot of research on both over-the-ear and in-ear headphones. He previously served as a director of audiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Now, he’s involved with Lantos Technologies — a company that’s developing a 3-D digital ear canal scanner to create custom in-ear headphones.

We spoke with Fligor about the best ways to listen to music while making sure we don’t damage our ears.

Q: Okay, let’s start it easy. Are headphones just the worst thing ever?

Q: Think of me as just your average consumer. How should I be listening to my music?

A: It’s not the headphones [that can cause damage], but it’s how people use them. How they use it depends on the environment they’re in and their own personal preference. There is a substantial majority who do listen too loudly — 15 percent to 25 percent — which we’ve found from multiple studies me and my colleagues have done.

Q: Can you dispel the myth for me — well, if it is a myth — that if the person next to you can hear your headphones, that means it’s too loud?

A: That only works in one scenario where there’s not too much background noise. It’s kind of like there’s a tiny little balance between enough background noise and not too much. So most of the time that rule doesn’t work.

Back in 1999, I saw a 15-year-old who came in saying he could not hear out of his right ear. I cleared the wax out of his ear . but it was the not-plugged ear where there was hearing loss. So, the only source was his headphones. He told me that he didn’t listen to it all the way up. But when he showed me his CD player, the level was 9.5/10. So I told him that you need to listen to it at a lower level.

Q: So then how loudly can I listen without damaging my ears?

A: Roughly about 80 percent of the maximum volume control and listening for an hour and a half at a time or less. So, I tell my clients to follow the “80/90 rule.” [80 percent and 90 minutes.] With CD players, the rule was seen as 60/60 since CD players produced louder sounds. So you see, it wasn’t the headphones that can be the issue but the players themselves.

Q: What about over-the-ear headphones versus earbuds? Should I toss my earbuds?

A: One of the studies that I did — one of my Ph.D. students also replicated — compared over-the-ear headphones and earbuds. We asked, if you’re using an earbud or over-the-ear headphones, do you listen at the same level? And yes, people chose the exact same level.

Think of it like driving a sports car. Just because it can go faster doesn’t mean that’s the speed you’re going at.

And when you use a headphone that blocks out the background noise or a headphone that is a canal-sealing earbud, that causes people to listen as softly as they would in a quiet environment.

Q: How much should I be spending on headphones then?

A: You can get a good pair of headphones for $100. That’s a lot of money, but think about the money you’re spending on the product to hold the music, and then you spend nothing on what you need to listen to it.

Q: All right, what do you use?

A: I have full custom in-ear headphones. Those are $2,500.

Q: Whoa, I couldn’t really afford that. Is that really worth the investment?

A: I’m a huge fan of customized options. They provide you with the most comfortable headphones. They block out the background noise consistently and conveniently. You’re able to listen as quietly as you choose to. You can get customized headphones by seeing an audiologist — like the $100 ones that I mentioned.

Q: But is using noise-cancelling headphones like that all the time really a good plan?

A: Good question. Don’t go jogging in Central Park at night with sealant headphones in. Noise-cancelling ones are much better for working at your desk or if you’re running on the treadmill. There are headphones that do have microphones that allow you to mix the ambient noise in.

Q: Okay, let’s say I’m going for a 20-minute run on the treadmill, and my favorite song comes on, and I want to blast it. Can I, without permanently damaging my ears?

A: For 20 minutes? I wouldn’t recommend listening at full blast, but going 80 percent for 20 minutes is fine. I do turn my favorite song up loud.

Q: Are there reasons I shouldn’t use earbuds though? What about earwax? Is that gross?

A: Earwax is a defense mechanism in your body. We don’t always love it and don’t think that everyone should share it, but our ear cleans itself out. It’s not necessary to use Q-tips for the majority of people. Earbuds should not contribute to bigger buildup of wax. For rock stars that use in-ear monitors, the tip goes so deep into the ear, so yes, they do need to come in to see an audiologist to have them cleared out.

Q: What about sharing earbuds? Is that something you should never do?

A: It’s not likely that another person is going to have some type of bacterial or fungal infection, but it’s not a zero percent chance. I use my own headphones, and I personally don’t share. It’s almost always fine, and it’s not a concern about earwax because, again, the wax helps to keep the ear healthy.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

If you are experiencing audio issues with Zoom, first make sure you are using Zoom on the local machine and not the HealthWISE server.

I cant hear anyone talking?

Step 1: On the local machine right click on the speaker icon on the right hand side of taskbar, then select Sounds.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Step 2: Within the Sounds window select Playback, ring click on an empty space in the menu and make sure show Disabled and Disconnected Devices are ticked.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

If a device is enabled and active it will have a green tick adjacent to the icon, make sure your device has this icon.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Step 3: If your speaker is enabled you may test it by right clicking on the device and selecting Test.

If your sound device is not even listed you may need to unplug it and try another port.

My device still not working in Zoom?

Step 4: Inside the Zoom options menu you will find an audio page where you can select the default device Zoom will use when in an active call. By Default Zoom will use windows preferred output device so check the correct device is selected.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Step 5: You can also change these settings during an active call, hover your cursor over the arrow next to the mute button in the call control panel. Here you can change both microphone and speaker defaults.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Within this same menu you can select the Test Speaker & Microphone. option to run a few quick tests to see if your in/output devices are setup correctly.

If you are experiencing audio issues with Zoom first make sure you are using Zoom on the local machine and not the HealthWISE server.

If you can’t hear a person’s voice clearly, hear crackling, hear static, or have issues with sound quality, learn what to do.

Check your sound settings

If your device has a Ring/Silent switch, move the switch forward—toward the device’s display—so that orange isn’t showing. If you’re using an iPad, you can also swipe down from the top-right corner to view Control Center and make sure that Silent Mode is off.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Open Settings > Do Not Disturb and make sure that Do Not Disturb is off.

Clean your receivers and speakers

Remove all screen protectors, films, or cases from your device. Check the speaker opening to see if it’s blocked or dirty. On iPhone only, make sure that the receiver is not blocked or dirty. If necessary, clean the speaker or receiver opening with a small, soft-bristled brush. Make sure that the brush is clean and dry.

Check the sound on your device

Go to Settings > Sounds (or Settings > Sounds & Haptics), and drag the Ringer and Alerts slider back and forth a few times. If you don’t hear any sound, or if your speaker button on the Ringer and Alerts slider is dimmed, your speaker might need service. Contact Apple Support for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Try making a call

If you hear sound, try making a call with your iPhone and turn on speakerphone. On iPad or iPod touch, make a FaceTime call. If you still can’t hear, or hear static or crackling, then your network or reception could be the issue. Try to call again later, or from a different location.

FaceTime isn’t available in all countries or regions.

Reader John asks if there’s a way to make dialogue more intelligible on his TV. Geoff Morrison helps him out.

CNET reader John asks:

I am a senior. My hearing abilities are deteriorating and I expect there are a lot of others with the same problem. Background music in a lot of programming drowns out the voice. Higher frequency and soft voices are more difficult to understand.

I would like to know if there is any way to control the audio portion of a HD cable TV signal? Would a home theater sound system give you any control?

I know I may require hearing aids eventually but was wondering about an interim solution. If control is not an option, would headphones work?

Thanks for your help,

I can’t speak to the question of hearing aids, but as far as TV audio is concerned, it’s not entirely your ears.

The problem is: all TV speakers are crap. Many people can’t hear dialogue from their TV speakers. Fortunately, there are several solutions.

The problem
There are multiple reasons why dialogue is so hard to hear on modern TVs. The first problem is the programming itself. Most TV shows have 5.1 surround-sound audio. OK, most quality shows have 5.1 audio. Those reality shows could be mono and no one would notice.

When all those channels get converted to the two in your TV, level issues from the downmix can arise. In theory it shouldn’t, but in practice it does.

The bigger problem is the TV itself. Audio is so far down the list of priorities for TV manufacturers that it’s doubtful they’d be able to care less. TV speakers add pennies to the cost of a television, and design aesthetics being what they are (thin everything), there is just no room for speakers large enough to create quality audio. Despite how certain companies have misled, physics aren’t optional. Tiny speakers will always sound like crap.

So it comes down to needing to augment your TV’s audio.

From best to worst:

Solution No. 1: A home theater system
If you get a receiver and separate speakers you can increase the volume of the center channel (where all the dialogue is). In addition, the separate center channel will be less burdened by other sound, such as music. If you get a decent speaker system, it will be way better than the crappy TV speakers.

This will likely solve your problem. It isn’t the cheapest option, but the good news is that even if you replace your TV, your audio system will still work great.

Check out CNET’s picks for AV receivers and speakers.

Solution No. 2: Sound bars
A sound bar is a simple solution, though not quite as good as separate speakers. These single bars have multiple drivers, and usually separate tweeters, and are often a big step up from the built-in TV audio.

I haven’t heard many of the cheap models. I heard the Atlantic Technology PowerBar 235 at the CEDIA Expo, and it sounded good.

Check out CNET’s page on sound bars.

CNET editor Matthew Moskovciak also recommends checking out the Zvox Z-Base 580 and Zvox Z-Base 555 . They’re not perfect and they’re a little pricey, but they’re geared toward making dialogue intelligible and have specific sound-processing modes to enhance dialogue.

The problem with most sound bars is you generally don’t have specific, per-channel level control. So the audio itself will be better than from your TV alone, but dialogue may not be that much more intelligible. And sound bars with dialogue-booster EQs should be tried before you buy. They may do weird things to the audio.

Related stories

Solution No. 3: Headphones
In most cases, headphones will get you better audio, but as with sound bars you’re still not separating out the dialogue.

The ideal is to get audio at the same total volume, just with more intelligible dialogue. Solution No. 1 unquestionably does that, Nos. 2 and 3 less so.

Solution No. 4: Audio adjustments on the TV
In your TV’s menu there may be dialogue or other audio adjustments that will help out. These features are rare, though, and I doubt they’d help in this particular case. Still, they’re worth looking for, as if they did help at least it’d be a free fix.

Anyone else have some ideas for John? Have you found you’re having a similar problem? Post your solution in the comments below.

Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he’s written on topics like why all HDMI cables are the same , LED LCD vs. plasma , active versus passive 3D , and more. Still have a question? Send him an e-mail! He won’t tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+.

I have my sound up, and have checked the sound and microphone options. All seems fine, but I can’t hear any sound from my friend. She had someone come in to help, and for a few minutes, we had both-ways sound. The next day, no sound for me to hear again, but she can hear me.

Replies (7) 

To help us isolate the issue, we’d like to ask for the following questions:

  • Exact Skype version you’re on (not new, recent, latest):
  • Is this happening to a specific contact?
  • Have you tried replicating the issue using a different device?
  • Are you getting any specific error message?
  • Can both of you try to make an Echo test call? Let us know the result.

Looking forward to your reply.

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Hi Rhiza_E, and thanks for your reply.

The answers to your astute questions are as follows, in the order they appear in your reply:

  • Version 740.0.104
  • It is happening with a specific contact, but I am not in contact with anyone else, so it is hard to say if the problem is at her end or mine. I suspect her end, as she had someone over who worked on it and she video called me on my computer with that person still there. We could hear and see each other. The next day when she called, I couldn’t hear her but she could hear me. We tried with me calling her, with the same result. We frequently fall off, too (the contact between us closing abruptly). I try to keep it open by speaking fairly often.
  • I only have the computer and an iPhone. I haven’t set it up on iPhone, which might create another ‘can of worms’ which I don’t want to try to fix afterwards.
  • When we make contact and I can only be heard but not hear her speak, we sometimes get a notice that the contact between us is not good.
  • I did the Echo test call and it came out just fine. I will send her a request to do the Eco test call at her end and let me know the result.

Many thanks for trying to find the solution.

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How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Despite a few security wobbles, Zoom remains a firm favourite with people looking to video chat with friends, family and colleagues.

And it’s easy to see why. The software is reliable and requires virtually no tech-savvy to operate. The free plan even lets you cram in 100 people on a call, so it’s a useful tool for both lecturers and people with really, really big families.

We’ve pulled together an easy how-to-use guide below, and thrown in some extra tricks and tips at the end for good measure.

How to start a Zoom meeting

First, you need to set yourself up with a Zoom account, which you can create here. You can’t start a meeting without this, but your co-workers don’t need to have accounts to join you (more on that below.)

Next, you’ll probably want to download the Zoom app. It is possible to use Zoom without downloading this, but if you’re going to save yourself a lot of hassle we recommend installing it.

Once that’s done, open the app on your phone or laptop and simply click ‘New Meeting’ to start a call. If you want to schedule a meeting for the future, there’s a button for that too, which you’ll find on the starting page of the app.

How to join a Zoom meeting

If you’re joining a Zoom meeting rather than hosting one, then you’ll need to grab the details from the host.

They should also be able to find a unique meeting ID for the video chat. If it’s a scheduled meeting, they can find this by looking at their Zoom calendar, which is displayed when they either launch the app or navigate to the Meetings section of their Zoom profile.

If they need to grab the details from a live call, the ID will appear on the top of their video – ask them to ping this over to you. You can then punch this in to access the call via the ‘Join Meeting’ section on the Zoom app or website.

How to use Zoom without the app

There is a way to start and join Zoom calls without downloading anything, but you will need to sign up for an account.

Annoyingly, this applies to people who just want to participate in a call too – you can either avoid downloading the app and sign up to join a call, or avoid signing up and download the app to join calls. Zoom won’t let you dodge both options completely.

So if you’re avoiding the app, you’ll need to sign up and sign in to Zoom via the website. Once that’s done, you should be able to click ‘Host a Meeting’ or ‘Join a Meeting’ at the top of the Zoom website homepage.

From here, it gets a bit fiddly. After launching or joining a call, there’s a pop-up box that will prompt you to download the Zoom app. Click cancel on this, and you’ll see a small line of text appear that reads: “If you cannot download or run the application, start from your browser.”

Click on the highlighted blue text (shown below in a screengrab), and you should be able to launch your call via the web.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Related: Is Zoom safe?

How to use Zoom without an account

The bad news is you definitely do need an account to host a meeting. But as mentioned above, you can join a call without signing up to Zoom, as long as you’re willing to download the app.

Once you’ve done this and launched the application, ignore the sign in button and click ‘Join Meeting.’ You should then be prompted for a meeting ID and an on-screen name for the call.

Your host should know your meeting ID. If they invited you to the meeting via email, you should find the details there, or give them a nudge to send the digits across in a separate message.

How to set meeting passwords on Zoom

There’s been a lot of worry about privacy recently after a spate of Zoom-bombings had people worried about unwanted visitors crashing their calls. One thing you can do to improve security is to set a password before your meeting starts and distribute to participants.

To do this, click on the ‘Schedule Meeting’ button when you launch the app, then scroll down to the password settings. This should let you type in a personalised code that people will need to input before joining your call.

How to turn off Zoom waiting rooms

Waiting rooms are automatically turned on in Zoom, which means that your participants will have to wait for your grand arrival before the video call kicks off.

While this is a nice little ego-boost, if you’re someone who frequently runs late, it’s probably a good idea to kill this feature. To do this, go to your Zoom settings page on your browser, then toggle on the ‘Join before Host’ option.

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You’re so excited to watch yourself in a friend’s YouTube video.

You’re overjoyed to finally listen to yourself on a recording for a class project.

As soon as the video starts playing or as soon as tape starts turning, you are suddenly stopped dead in your tracks.

What is that awful noise? Who is that ratchet person speaking?

AHHH! It sounds like the deafening cries of a parrot being crammed and churned up inside of a meat grinder!

You suddenly realize the person you are seeing and hearing is, in fact, you.

You are utterly horrified by the screechy, annoying, horrible sound of your own voice.

This can’t possibly be how you sound in real life, can it?

Unfortunately, it is. That high-pitched granny wail is, in fact, how the whole world hears your voice.

Don’t fret! We all feel the same way about our voices.

We all despise the unfamiliar eerie, irritating, nasally sound of our speech that comes through on a recording.

Let’s start with a super skinny anatomy lesson.

The ear has three main parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the outer ear is the part you can see outside of your head — so the things you grab when you’re pointing out your Alfalfa-sized ears that take up most of your face. Just me?

The outer ear opens up to the ear canal. The eardrum separates the canal from the middle ear.

The middle ear contains three bones, which are the main conductors of sound. They “amplify and transfer” sounds to the inner ear.

The inner ear is the last stop before the brain. It contains the cochlea (not to confused with the similarly named music festival Coachella), which “changes sound into neurological signals and the auditory (hearing) nerve, which takes sound to the brain.”

Anything that creates sound sends a series of vibrations into the ear.

The ear takes these sounds and funnels them through the three parts of the ear.В According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology:

The vibrations are passed to the three small bones of the middle ear, which transmit them to the cochlea. The cochlea contains tubes filled with fluid. Inside one of the tubes, tiny hair cells pick up the vibrations and convert them into nerve impulses. These impulses are delivered to the brain via the hearing nerve. The brain interprets the impulses as sound.

What you hear when you listen to your own voice (nothing soulful, here, y’all).

There are two different ways that sound enters our ears: air-conducted or bone-conducted.

Air-Conducted: Air-conducted sounds are noises that enter the ear from the outside. These are the sounds we hear when we’re listening to music, to ourselves on tape or on a recording.

According to NBC, it “is transmitted through the eardrums, vibrating three bony ossicles (malleus, incus and stapes) and terminating in the cochlea. The cochlea, a fluid-filled spiral structure, converts these vibrations into nerve impulses to be interpreted in the brain.”

Remember what we just learned about the middle ear, kids?

Bone-conducted: Bone-conducted sounds are “vibrations from our vocal cords [that] directly reach the cochlea.”

When we’re listening to the voice inside our heads, as opposed to a recording, we’re hearing a mixture of air-conducted and bone-conducted sounds. It is a cacophony of noise that only YOU can hear.

According to Dr. William Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences and director of the Integrative Neuroscience Research Center at Marquette University:

When you ‘hear’ your own voice, however, not only do the sound/pressure waves leaving your own mouth (call this the external stimulus) reach your ear and activate this series of events, but a second thing happens: The physical act of producing speech, which involves contraction of the muscles of the larynx (and others), creates a vibration that is translated through the neck to the skull where the entire auditory transduction apparatus is.

Your voice is bouncing around in your head. It is a unique sound for your ears only.

What we hear when we listen to that grotesqueВ voice recording.

When we hear a recording, we’re eliminating the bone-conducted sound and listening to our voices only through the air-conducted sound.

As Dr. Chris Chang, an otolaryngologist at Fauquier Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants in Warrenton, Virginia told NBC:

When [peopleВ listen] to a recording of their voice speaking, the bone-conducted pathway that they consider part of their ‘normal’ voice is eliminated, and they hear only the air-conducted component in unfamiliar isolation — what everybody else actually hears.

The sound you will hear is a much sharper, high-pitched sound. It can really throw you for a loop.

So, why does hearing our own voices piss us off so much?

As SciShow’s science expert, Hank Green points out, the reason our voices sound alien to us over a recording has to do with the way we learned to speak when we were little munchkin babies.

We learned to talk byВ looking at the mouths of other people, trying to understand the sounds that were coming out of their mouths, and then, attempting to replicate those sounds.

We spend our whole lives hearing ourselves one way, only to have that completely thrown off when we hear ourselves recorded.

We think our voices are deeper than they are.

When you speak, do you hear a voice akin to the brooding Scarlett Johansson?

Well, guess what? You may actually sound more like Iago from “Aladdin.”

Our brains trick us into thinking the sounds we’re hearing are lower than they are.

So, when we listen to our voices outside of ourselves, on a tape or recording of some kind, we perceive them asВ sounding much more high-pitched and shrill than when we hear our voices spoken out loud.

When the bone-conducted sound is mixed with air-conducted sound, the sound is more reverent and rich.

Sorry to break it to you, champ, but that voice you hear over a recording is actually the way the whole world hears you speak.

We’re hearing our voices differently than we always have.

As Dr. Cullinan puts it:

We hate it because it is so foreign. You’ve certainly never heard yourself that way normally — and for good reason — you can’t avoid producing both internal and external stimuli prior to hearing your own voice. The irony is you are the only person who ‘hears’ yourself in the way you think everyone else does.

We are so accustomed to hearing our own voice that listening to a recording can be very jarring.

We go through life thinking we sound one way, only to have that rug ruthlessly torn from under us.

If it’s any consolation, we all are in the same boat. No one likes the way he or she sounds. It’s just a fact of life.

We’re all just a bunch of high-pitched lunatics trying to make it in this crazy world.

Do you ever get the feeling that people don’t want to hang out? If so, if can leave you wondering what the heck is going on. Are you pushing them away? Are your friendships changing? Whatever the case may be, discovering the source — and fixing the problem — can help solve those lonely, lonely weekends.

Keep in mind, though, that most of the time it has nothing to do with you. “A lot of people know themselves and how many friends they can keep up with,” says Rebecca Rawczak, LICSW, in an email to Bustle. So if that cool girl at work seems completely disinterested in getting drinks, this could be your explanation.

But what about friends who are suddenly MIA, despite years of getting along? While it’s true friendships wax and wane, it could be that you’re inadvertently pushing them away. Perhaps you go to them too often with problems, or are really bad at listening. Habits like these make people less likely to hit you up, and even less excited when they do. If that’s likely what’s going on, don’t worry — there are ways to fix the problem. Read on for some tips, as well as other signs people don’t want to hang out. If any of them ring a bell, you’ll know exactly what to do.

1. They Bring A Third Wheel

If you were expecting your friend to show up solo, it can come as quite the shock when she strolls in with a mystery third person. Of course, she may have wanted you two to meet. Or maybe she thought “the more the merrier.” But if she keeps bringing unexpected guests, friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., tells me it could be a sign she’s trying to dilute your relationship. Think that’s the case? Then have a chat. Tell her you value one-on-one time, and explain that it would mean a lot if she’d give you a heads up in the future. If she meant nothing by it, she’ll totally understand.

2. You’re The One Making All The Plans

Whenever you have plans, it’s because you made them. “You always have to be the initiator, [the] planner,” Levine says. “[And] you have the sense that if you didn’t plan it, it wouldn’t happen.” If this keeps happening, it may be time to assess why everyone is running away. Do you talk over people? Are you judgmental? Putting a stop to these bad habits can make you more likable, and way easier to hang out with.

3. They Don’t Reach Out As Often

In the same vein are the people who don’t reach out as much. There could be a million reasons for this, so it may require some investigating. “You could ask your friends/family to be completely honest with you and give their feedback,” Nicole Zagara, LCSW, tells Bustle. Ask friends why they are MIA, or reach out to family for their opinion. You may not like what you hear, but it can help shed some light on why everyone is suddenly so unavailable.

4. You Can’t Nail Down A Date

This one is confusing because it often involves a friend who seems down to hang out, but never actually does. This is the person who suggests coffee dates, or movie nights, but can’t seem to nail down the plans. Levine tells me they may be vague about the time or day, or constantly cancel. If this goes on on and on, giving them space can help. “Back off and let her initiate,” Levine says. “Sometimes, even very good friends need a break from one another.”

5. They Give Vague Excuses

Whenever it comes to making plans, your friend is full of one vague excuse after another. “Once or twice may be a coincidence if they give you a strong reason, like a visiting friend from out of town,” says Rawczak. “But if they repeatedly give you vague reasons, ‘I’m busy’ [or] ‘I already have plans,’ then they are either a) a covert operative for a international spy agency, or b) not interested enough in hanging out to make time for it.”

6. They Seem Checked Out

Let’s say you’re out for coffee, and that “friend” of yours has yet to look up from her phone. Sure, she may just be busy (or rude). But it’s also possible she’s wishing she was somewhere else. If you think that’s what’s up, take the time to figure out why she’s acting this way. Apart from a flagging friendship (which happens to everyone), it could be you’re wearing her out. Do you go to her with all your problems? Then back off a bit. “Don’t depend on the same friend, or any one person, to fulfill all your needs,” Levine says. Spreading the love to multiple people will prevent them from feeling burnt out.

7. They Don’t Know About Your Life

Hanging out with people is 50 percent hanging out and 50 percent catching up. So of course it’s totally fine to meet up with a friend who has zero clue what’s going on in your life. But if she seems disinterested, or can’t remember what you say, it may be worth noting. “If neither of you are sharing the little nuances in your lives with each other, that’s a major indicator that your friendship is cooling down,” said relationships writer Elaine Chaney on

8. You Only Chat Via Social Media

Facebook and the like are obviously great ways to keep in contact with people. But take note if your relationships are almost 100 percent online, according to Chaney. And take an even bigger note if your “friendship” is dwindling to the occasional reaction emoji.

9. All Your Convos Fall Flat

Of course it’s possible your friend just isn’t the chatty type. But does talking to her feel like pulling teeth? If so, Levine tells me it could be a sign this person only met up as a favor. Again, talking to your friend is the best solution. If you both agree it’s not worth the effort, it can save you both a lot of heartache and a lot of wasted time.

10. They Throw A Party Without You

While I hope close friends would never do this to you, it can happen with potential friends. “A lot of people use parties to start to deepen acquaintance relationships and read if their acquaintances want to know them better,” Rawczak says. If this happens to you, try turning the tables. Throw your own party and invite a bunch of people. “You may be surprised who shows up, and that’s a strong indication they are interested in knowing you better outside of your shared hobbies.”

11. People Joke About Not Inviting You

Are you known as the complainer of the group? Or the proverbial Debbie Downer? If so, it can really turn people off — and may even lead to them jokingly (or not so jokingly) squeezing you out of the group. If this describes your problem, it may help to rethink your ways. “Try not to complain openly in mixed spaces, especially at work,” says Rawczak. Save it for close friends, or family, and go about being the positive one people love to be around.

Of course, you should never change yourself to gain friends. And you shouldn’t waste your time on people who don’t love and respect you. But recognizing how you might be pushing people away can explain why it seems like nobody ever wants to hang out.



Here’s How to Tell If Someone Is a Toxic Person in the First 5 Minutes

If your new acquaintance does any of these things, you should probably stay away.

You know how damaging it can be to have a toxic person in your workplace, or in your life. Unfortunately, most of them don’t come with warning labels the way toxic chemicals do. Many of them seem very likable at first. After all, most toxic people are good manipulators, so getting you to like them is part of their toolkit.

Is there a way to tell early on–ideally the first time you meet–that someone will turn out to be a toxic person? While there’s no foolproof method to tell right away if a new friend or colleague will be a drag on your energy, mood, or productivity, there are some early warning signs many toxic people display. If you encounter any of these when meeting someone for the first time–and especially if you encounter several of them–proceed with caution:

1. They badmouth someone else.

I once went for an interview at a company where the CEO told me about the deficiencies he saw in his second-in-command. That seemed like a big red flag to me, and I was right–I tried working there on a part-time basis for a couple of months but quickly left when the CEO proved much too toxic to work with. If someone you meet criticizes or complains about a third party who isn’t present, that may be a sign that you’re dealing with a toxic person–and when you’re not around they’ll say bad stuff about you. (The exception is when the comment makes sense in context, for instance if someone criticizes the Democratic candidate when you’re at a Republican fundraiser.)

2. They complain.

Most toxic people are championship-level complainers. Listening to them gripe can be bad for your mood, your productivity, and maybe even your health. Plus, if you’re like many people, you’re in danger of getting sucked in, trying to fix whatever they’re unhappy about. That’s almost always a losing proposition. So if someone starts off your acquaintance with a lot of complaining, think hard about whether you want that person and their many dissatisfactions in your life.

3. They ask for special treatment.

You know who I mean. The person who expects you to accept their submission even though it’s a day or two past the deadline. The person who absolutely must get into your event for free even though everyone else is paying admission. If someone asks you for a special favor when you’ve only just met, just imagine what they’ll ask for once they get to know you better.

4. They boast.

If you’re meeting someone for a (formal or informal) job interview, it’s natural for them to talk about their accomplishments. In other situations, someone who bends your ear for five minutes about how successful their last project was or how high their revenue is trying too hard to influence your thinking. Be wary.

5. They put you on the defensive.

Sometimes this happens so subtly that you can’t even say for sure how it was done. But you suddenly feel the need to explain to this person you’ve barely met why you made the choices you did, or why your organization isn’t so bad after all. Someone who makes you feel like you have to constantly defend yourself, your company, or your beliefs is going to be exhausting to spend time with.

6. They make you work to please them.

This happens to me all the time, and I bet it happens to you, too. Someone tells you they just can’t find the app they need for what they want to do. Or they’ve put together a proposal, but it just isn’t quite right. Or all their hopes ride on their child getting into that one special school. Before you know it, you’re trying to write an app for them, or seeking out inside tips to improve their proposal, or calling all your friends to see if anyone you know happens to know someone on the admissions committee for the school they want.

Stop right there. Anyone who has you tying yourself in knots to help them when you’ve only just met will only manipulate you into greater and greater efforts as time goes on. And you already know they’re extremely difficult to please.

7. They don’t show interest in your concerns.

You’ve just had a 10-minute conversation with a new acquaintance and you already know where they grew up, that they got divorced six months ago, and that they just landed a promotion. Meantime, they don’t even know where you work or what you do for a living.

Someone who expects you to be interested in every aspect of their life but has zero curiosity about yours is highly likely to be a toxic person. Be on your guard.

8. They don’t make you feel good.

Do a gut check. How do you feel after talking with this person? How would you feel at the prospect of, say, spending an hour with them over lunch or coffee? If spending time with someone makes you tense or unhappy, there’s a decent chance that this is a toxic person. So if you feel negative, it’s worth trying to figure out why. Maybe this is someone from a different culture, or you feel intimidated by their intelligence or success, in which case you should probably try to overcome your resistance. But it could also be that this is a toxic person, and you should follow your instincts when they tell you to walk away.


Zoom screen sharing allows you to share the desktop, window, application or audio/video. Zoom allows you to also send computer audio to the remote attendees when sharing a video or audio clip.


  • Zoom Desktop Client for Mac or Windows

Note: Computer sound cannot be shared while multiple screens are being shared.


To share computer audio such as YouTube, Pandora, etc. during screen sharing, click on Share Computer Sound.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Screen Sharing with Computer Sound While Connected To Meeting Audio via Phone

  • This applies to users who join the meeting via both phone and computer to receive audio via the phone and video/screen sharing via computer and enter their Meeting ID and Participant ID to bind devices together.
  • If this user checks Share Computer Sound on their computer, this will trigger the audio to channel through both their phone device as well their computer audio.
  • To stop sending audio, simply click Stop Share at the top of your meeting screen or mute the speaker of your phone or the speaker of your PC or MAC.

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

Written by
Jess Ewald for Parachute

We’re not even going to assume that your roommate is intentionally being disruptive at night. Maybe you have different schedules, and some noise while you’re trying to sleep is just inevitable. Or maybe your bedroom happens to be near a high-traffic part of the home, like the kitchen or hallway. Or, yeah, maybe your roommate is just really rude. But for whatever reason, there’s a noise situation even the softest sheets can’t solve, and it’s keeping you from getting rest.

There are plenty of ways you might want to address this situation in daylight hours. A quick chat over chips and homemade guacamole? Passive aggressive banging around in the kitchen as you make your morning coffee? A calendar invite for a “Housemate Touchbase”? That’s up to you.

But this isn’t an article on roommate mediation techniques. We’re here to solve problems. Here are five ways to counter a noisy roommate and help you get to sleep.

W e’re not even going to assume that your roommate is intentionally being disruptive at night. Maybe you have different schedules, and some noise while you’re trying to sleep is just inevitable. Or maybe your bedroom happens to be near a high-traffic part of the home, like the kitchen or hallway. Or, yeah, maybe your roommate is just really rude. But for whatever reason, there’s a noise situation even the softest sheets can’t solve, and it’s keeping you from getting rest.

There are plenty of ways you might want to address this situation in daylight hours. A quick chat over chips and homemade guacamole? Passive aggressive banging around in the kitchen as you make your morning coffee? A calendar invite for a “Housemate Touchbase”? That’s up to you.

But this isn’t an article on roommate mediation techniques. We’re here to solve problems. Here are five ways to counter a noisy roommate and help you get to sleep.

Absorb the Noise with More (White) Noise

There’s a reason white noise machines are so common in baby nurseries and therapists’ offices — the right one will work wonders. That’s because they create a consistent, ambient sound that helps absorb outside noises, including what are called “peak” sounds, like a door slamming shut, making them less likely to disturb your sleep. A loud fan can sometimes do the trick, too, and you can also find white noise playlists online — or just keep piping through your speakers all night.

Go Old School and Get Earplugs

It sounds too straightforward, but sometimes earplugs are the easiest and best solution. The right pair will block or muffle a wide range of sounds, from high-pitched shrills to a steady bass thump. In fact, heavy sleepers beware: Some ear plugs are so good, there’s a risk they’ll work too well. There are dozens of shapes and materials out there ranging from $2 to more than $200, so it makes sense to experiment with what works best for you. For what it’s worth, the traditional and inexpensive PVC or polyurethane foam plugs often beat out more expensive counterparts in online rankings, so don’t feel like you have to make a big investment to get some peace.

Decorate Your Way to Silence

It’s almost unbelievable how much some strategically placed fabric can muffle exterior sound. Sound travels through the air and bounces off flat surfaces, so the more you can cover, the quieter it will be. Try layering your door with some heavy upholstery fabric or a nice tapestry, and doing the same to the walls is a good idea, too. You can buy fabric specifically designed for soundproofing, but anything will do — the thicker, the better. You can also try strategically placing a sound-absorbing room divider alongside your bed (or make your own by hanging a thick curtain from the ceiling) to help quiet your sleeping area.

Get a Little Herbal Help

If you ever have trouble sleeping — and who doesn’t? — your nightstand is incomplete without some lavender oil. The lovely purple flower has been lauded for its ability to help lull us to dreamland for thousands of years, and it can definitely do the same for you, regardless of what’s happening outside your bedroom walls. Try making a DIY room spray by combining 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil with some rubbing alcohol (which acts as an emulsifier) to spritz onto your bedding before bed. Beyond the calming effects of the herb, having a little pre-bed routine can help trigger your mind into knowing that it’s time for rest — maybe with a mug of chamomile or passionflower tea, which are also both known to help induce sleep. A lavender lotion, salve or Scented Candle can do the trick as well. (For more on natural ways to help you get to sleep, check out this article.)

Stretch Your Way to Sleep

While Surya Namaskar, the sun salutation, is an energizing and empowering way to start your day, there are plenty of yoga poses that can help you wind down and prepare for sleep. Viparita Karani, also known as “legs up the wall pose” is an easy and restorative move that can help you find your zen — and your zzzs. Simply lay down and raise your feet against a wall, then remain there for a couple minutes. Another good one is the lying down goddess stretch, which can be done in bed. Lay on your back with the soles of your feet pressed together so your knees are bent and falling to the side, and let your arms lay casually down by your sides. For something with a little more of a flow, check out Chandra Namaskar, the moon salutation. It’s best done on a more-or-less empty stomach, so it might not be ideal for everyone.

Do Apple’s AirPods fall out of your ear or hurt after you wear them? Don’t give up. Here are a few DIY fixes and earhook solutions to get the AirPods to stay in your ear.

You love the sound, look, and coolness of your Apple AirPods. But there’s one thing you don’t like. The things keep slipping out of your ears.

Rather than create a product that could accept different size tips for different ears, Apple went with a one-size-fits-all approach. But the outer part of the eardrum where the AirPods fit isn’t the same size for everyone, so either the AirPods stay in your ears or they don’t.

The problem becomes especially vexing if you’re exercising, sweating, or simply moving your head around. Your AirPods ($139.00 at Amazon) slowly creep out of your ears until you can barely hear the audio. Then, unless you catch them quick, they fall out.

Does this mean you need to return your AirPods? Well, that’s up to you. But don’t give up just yet. There are a few do-it-yourself tricks and several add-on accessories that can coax your AirPods to remain in your ears. Let’s check them out.

Twist Your AirPods

Affix Waterproof Tape

Here’s a cool DIY method for keeping your AirPods in your ears, courtesy of a MacRumors forum thread. First, you’ll need some waterproof tape. The Nexcare 3M brand is typically recommended as it’s sticky and durable.

Next, you’ll need a regular hole punch to cut out circular pieces of the tape. Take an AirPod and stick a piece of tape near the top and bottom of the earbud. Position the tape close to where the AirPod sticks in your ear. Do the same for the other one.

Place the AirPods in your ears, then move around, do some exercise, or go for a jog. The AirPods should remain in your ears thanks to the raised surface of the tape. The best part of this trick is that your AirPods will still fit in the charging case even with the tape on them.

DamonLight AirPod Covers

Beyond the DIY approach, you’ll find a variety of covers and cases intended to help your AirPods stay in your ears. One of the drawbacks with many of these accessories is that you have to remove them to put your AirPods back in the charging case. Not so with the AirPod covers from DamonLight.

Because of their design, these covers can be tricky to apply. You need to stretch them enough to attach them but not so much that you rip them. But once you get them on, you can simply leave them on your AirPods.

Despite their thin design, the DamonLight covers do a good job of keeping the AirPods in your ears thanks to the silicone surface. You can snag a 2-pair package in a few different colors at Amazon for $12.95.

EarSkinz AirPod Covers

The EarSkinz AirPod Covers slip snugly over your AirPods and provide a secure fit when you place them in your ears. The covers are thicker and bulkier than other covers, such as the ones from DamonLight, but they’re still comfortable and help keep your AirPods firmly in your ears so the fit won’t loosen.

The main downside is that you must remove them to put your AirPods back in the charging case. Don’t sweat it, though. These covers are relatively easy to attach and take off. You’ll find these in an array of colors at Amazon for $12.95.

AhaStyle Silicone Ear Hooks Cover

AhaStyle’s Silicone Ear Hooks Cover are compatible with both Apple AirPods and EarPods. And what’s the hook behind these items? That’s exactly it. Slipping over your AirPods, each cover comes with a little hook that catches and hangs onto your ear so they stay put. The covers include the necessary cutouts so they won’t interfere with the sound or operation of your AirPods.

As with similar covers, you must remove these to put your AirPods back in the charging case. Fortunately, AhaStyle’s covers are not too difficult to put on or take off. I use these at the gym, and they’re quite adept at keeping my AirPods in my ears. Amazon sells a $10.99 3-pair pack in several colors.

EarBuddyz 2.0 Ear Hooks and Covers

The EarBuddyz Ear Hooks also use hooks to hang onto your ears so the AirPods won’t slip off. Once you position them, they do a good job of keeping your AirPods securely in place. They have all the necessary cutouts so the audio from your AirPods comes through clearly.

Unfortunately, this is another cover you have to take off when you put your AirPods back in the charging case. Yes, that can be a hassle, but putting the EarBuddyz covers on and off isn’t too difficult. Amazon sells a $10.95 3-pair package in black, white, blue, and pink.

AirPod Grips

The AirPod Grips use a large plastic hook to wrap around your entire ear. That design means they’re bigger and bulkier than the usual AirPod cases or covers. However, they are also easier and quicker to set up.

All you need to do is slide the stem of the AirPods in the hollow stem of the AirPod Grips. Then, just wrap the larger hook around your ear, and you’re good to go. The grips keep your AirPods securely in your ear while still offering a comfortable fit.

I tested these during a vigorous workout, and they held up nicely. You can buy these directly at the AirPod Grips website for $12.99.

Listening without judging isn’t always easy. For most people, it takes lots of practice, but it’s an important skill that can improve your communication. Withholding judgment while you listen to others means you can truly hear them with an open mind. Your friends and family feel better supported, and people around you are more likely to open up when they know you aren’t judging as they talk.

Be Aware of Judgment

Most people don’t set out to be intentionally judgmental, but it’s a natural instinct to do so. You have your preconceived notions of how the world should work and what people should do. When you listen to someone talk, you automatically compare what comes out of the person’s mouth with the ideas that are ingrained in your mind.

Being aware of the fact that your mind naturally makes judgments is the start of breaking the cycle. Set out to intentionally listen without making assumptions. If you notice yourself thinking the person is wrong or should do something differently, calm that inner voice and refocus on what the person is saying. This isn’t easy and takes practice, so don’t give up if you find it difficult.

Use Active Listening Skills

Very often, people only half listen to the person who is talking. Instead of fully engaging, you’re already making judgments and thinking of how you’re going to respond. You may miss out on important details or subtle hints that give more information about what the person is actually saying.

Improve your active listening skills, so you can focus completely on the message without jumping to conclusions while the other person talks. Hold eye contact with the person. Listen without interrupting or offering solutions. Try to imagine how the speaker feels, picking up on subtle hints and nonverbal cues to understand the emotions involved. If you’re unclear on something, wait until the speaker pauses before asking clarifying questions.

Be Empathetic

When you hear someone talk, you typically analyze the words from your perspective. But it’s important to remember we’re all a little different. We don’t all see things exactly the same way. Instead of listening from your own perspective, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and listening from that point of view.

Say your friend is dealing with a spouse who treats her poorly, says mean things to her and generally hurts her self-esteem. From your perspective, his behavior is completely unacceptable, and she should leave him. But you’re not taking into account her position. She loves this person very much. She may have lots of good times with him, too. She may be dealing with the fear of being alone. When you consider how she’s feeling, you can start to understand why it’s not so easy to just leave.

Being empathetic to the person’s situation and point of view can help you open your mind while listening. Remember that everyone’s experiences and journeys are different.

Consider Your Own Flaws

It’s easy to judge other people when you think they’re making the wrong choice. Everything seems black and white when you aren’t personally and emotionally invested in the situation. Selling a house that you can’t afford instead of falling behind on bills seems logical, but parting with a home that holds so many memories is difficult when you’re the homeowner. Leaving an unhealthy relationship seems like the obvious decision, but it’s more challenging when you also have lots of good memories and emotions tied to the other person.

No one makes right decisions all the time. Everyone has lapses in judgment or gets caught up in the emotion of situations. If you find yourself judging someone else who is talking about a problem, remind yourself that you’ve been in plenty of situations in which others could have judged you. Remembering that the person you’re talking to is a human just like you can help you withhold judgment.

Easy Ways to Turn off Annoying Browser Sounds

How to Hear TV Sound Without Blasting Everyone Else Out

So you have your headphones on, and you’re grooving along listening to your favorite music on iTunes while you work when it happens. An ad starts blaring on a sweepstakes website you’ve opened, blasting your eardrums. Sound familiar?

There are many good reasons to want to turn off sounds in your internet browser. Maybe you’re listening to music while you work or watching television while you enter sweepstakes, and you don’t want to be interrupted. Maybe you don’t want to disturb other people in the room with you, or maybe you just don’t want to be scared half to death by unexpected noises blaring at you.

Luckily, you don’t have to be at the mercy of ads, news broadcasts, or sweepstakes sites that blast sound when you visit them. These tips will help you disable sound in your browser, allowing you to browse the net or enter sweepstakes in peace.

How to Turn Off Sound for Individual Tabs in Your Web Browser:

Mute sounds in Firefox by looking for the speaker icon on the tab that’s playing music. Clicking on the speaker icon turns off sound for that tab. Clicking the icon again turns the sound back on. This trick lets you continue to listen to sound playing in other tabs.

Disable sounds in Internet Explorer by opening Advanced Features under Settings.

Turn off sounds in Chrome: When a Chrome tab is playing sound, a little speaker icon appears on that tab. Right-click on it, and select the Mute Tab option.

Mute Safari sounds: Safari has a speaker icon in the address bar. If you click on it while on a tab that’s playing sound, it mute that tab. If you click on it while on a tab that is not playing sound, it mutes all tabs.

Microsoft Edge does not currently support muting individual tabs. However, you can use the following tips to disable all sounds from whichever internet browser you use, including Edge.

Disable Sounds in Your Internet Browser Using Windows:

If you want to disable sounds from playing, rather than turning them off when they annoy you, you can prevent your internet browser from playing any sounds att all.

  1. Open Your Control Panel: The easiest way to open the Control Panel is to click on “Start” and then click on “Control Panel.”
  2. Open “Internet Options”: Use the search box to find the “Internet Options” section of the Control Panel.
  3. Select the “Advanced” Tab: The Advanced Tab is usually on the far right side of the Internet Options screen.
  4. Scroll Down to “Multimedia”: Scroll through the options until you see the section called “Multimedia.”
  5. Deselect the “Play Sounds” Option: Click to uncheck the option called “Play Sounds in Web pages.” This will turn off all sounds in your internet browsers.
  6. Turn Sounds on Again When You’re Ready: If you would like to resume listening to sounds on your internet browser, go through these steps again once you are done entering sweepstakes, but this time, check the “Play Sounds in Web pages” option.

Use Plug-Ins to Turn Off Browser Sounds:

You can use browser plug-in programs to modify how your internet browsers handle sounds. This gives you more control than blocking sounds from your browser altogether, since you can allow some sites to play music (like YouTube, for example). Here are some plug-ins you can try out:

  • Mute Sies by Default for Firefox blocks sounds from all websites that aren’t on a whitelist.
  • MuteTab for Chrome helps you find which of your tabs are playing sound and lets you stop or pause the culprits. It also automatically shuts off sound for any tabs playing in the background.
  • If advertisements are annoying you by auto-playing sound, ad-blocking plug-ins prevent them from running at all.

As you can see, you have several options to help you control which sounds you hear in your browser. You don’t have to be annoyed by unwanted noises as you play, work, or enter sweepstakes.