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Why You Can Hear Background But Not Voices On TV and How to Fix It

Have you ever been in a situation where you can hear the background music and sound effects from your TV but you can’t hear the dialogue? It’s incredibly frustrating, especially when you’re trying to enjoy your favorite show or movie. I recently experienced this issue myself, so I did some research to figure out what was going on and how to fix it. In this post, I’ll be sharing what I found out about why you can hear background but not voices on TV and how to fix it.

Wrong Audio ChannelTV’s audio set to 5.1 surround sound while using a 2-channel speakerAdjust TV’s audio settings to match speaker specifications
Disconnected or Faulty WiringCentral speaker’s wire disconnected or faultyCheck both ends of wire and reset connection, replace with new wire or test with multimeter, prevent wire from getting damaged
Speaker Is BlownUse of excessive electrical power, physical damage, or agingRepair or replace blown parts by authorized specialist, reset TV with soft or hard reset
Soft ResetClears device’s internal memory of running programs, clears technical glitchesTurn off TV, unplug for 60 seconds, plug back in and turn on
Hard ResetResets TV to factory defaultsSamsung TV: go to Settings > General > Reset > enter PIN (0000 if not changed) > reset

Reason #1: Wrong Audio Channel

During the early days of broadcasts, the sound quality televisions produced was monaural, or mono for short. That means the transmission of sound only uses one channel. 

On the other hand, modern TVs use multiple channels to transmit sounds. Manufacturers do this to enhance their products’ sound quality.

So if you hear background sounds but no voices on TV, chances are it’s playing through the wrong audio channel. 

It could be that the TV’s audio is set to 5.1 surround sound while using a 2-channel speaker. The 5.1 surround sound is programmed to send voices through a central speaker. 

So, you’re probably hearing background sounds with the voices missing because you only have a left and right speaker.

How to Fix This Problem

To fix the issue, open your TV’s settings, go to the audio settings, and make sure everything is set according to your speaker’s specifications. 

In other words, if you’re using a 2-way speaker, make sure your TV’s audio is on stereo rather than surround. Otherwise, the voice will be muted. 

Reason #2: Disconnected or Faulty Wiring

So you had your TV’s audio match the speakers and you’re so excited to get back to your movie marathon, yet you still hear only background sounds with no voices!

Another reason that may be causing the problem has to do with your central speaker’s wire. It’s either the wire has been disconnected or is faulty. 

To find out if it’s connected, check both ends of the wire (the TV’s end and speaker’s end) and see if they are properly set. 

If resetting the wire connection didn’t solve the problem, then the central speaker’s wire might be faulty. 

How to Know If the Wire Is Faulty

You can run a test to know if the wire is faulty by connecting a new wire between the center speaker and the TV. If it works, then the original wire is faulty. 

Also, to test the integrity of the wire, you can connect both ends of the multimeter to each end of the speaker’s wire. If you hear a continuous tone from the multimeter, the wire is faulty. 

How to Prevent Wires From Getting Damaged

To prevent a speaker wire from getting damaged, make sure people don’t accidentally step on it. Keep it away from their path. You should also tuck the wire in a clean and dry spot. 

When you want to remove the speaker wire from the TV,  you must always hold the connectors before pulling it. Don’t fall into the habit of removing the speaker wires by just carelessly yanking them. Doing so will harm its internal components without you knowing. 

Lastly, make sure that your speaker wire doesn’t get tangled with the cables of other devices. A well-planned audio wire set-up is key in achieving this.   

Reason #3: The Speaker Is Blown

Another cause of a TV having background sounds but no voices is that the center speaker is blown.

Speakers get blown because of several reasons. One is the use of excessive electrical power. Another one is the speaker may have been damaged physically or has already aged. 

While scratchy sounds often indicate a blown speaker, others will produce no sound at all. 

To prevent speakers from getting blown, it’s good practice to keep the volume always at a safe level. You might also want to make sure that the speakers are in a nice and safe spot.   

What to Do If the Speaker Is Blown

You can have the blown parts repaired or changed by an authorized specialist. However, if fixing and or replacing certain parts is more expensive than buying a new speaker, the latter might just be your best bet. 

Try a soft reset

A soft reset, is where you turn off the TV and unplug it from the wall outlet. You then usually have to wait for 60 seconds then you can put the plug back in and turn the TV on again. Performing a soft reset clears a device’s internal memory of running programs, which often clears up any technical glitches.

Try a hard reset

A hard reset involves completely resetting the TV to its factory defaults. Most TV models have specific instructions. However, if you have a Samsung TV here are the steps to follow:

To perform a factory reset:

  1. Head to Settings > General.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. Enter your PIN > then select Reset.

Note: If you didn’t change your PIN initially the code is 0000

Final Thoughts

Some of the causes of TV sound problems aren’t as serious as many of us think. We just need to make a few adjustments to resolve the issue.

On the other hand, some audio issues require special attention like repairs and replacements. Whatever the reason is, it’s important to identify the problem so you won’t waste time, energy, and money to get them solved. 

So, the next time your TV’s audio acts strange again (we certainly hope not), just run a quick review of this article to pinpoint the problem and hopefully fix it. 

Read more: Can you connect two TVs with HDMI?