Forget the problem with commercials being blasted at you, I've noticed in a few of my regular shows lately, noticibly Burn Notice and Royal Pains, dialog is at one volume level, and the music that plays between scenes (camera pans over scenery/cityscape, etc.) is at three times the volume. It requires me to keep one hand on the remote volume at all times lets I miss the dialog because the volume is too low, or suffer even more hearing loss because the volume is too high.

Or is it just me?

No. It's not just you. I've seen the same thing, especially with movies. The volume ratio between background music and dialogs is getting higher and higher. I don't think you can even call it background music anymore. I don't know what it is that makes directors think that this is OK. And there's no way to help it (like being able to adjust to volume of different things like music and special effects versus dialogs). My father has hearing problems and he's been bitching about this problem of many years.

Noticed the same thing with adverts, program is at one level then adverts come on at a higher level - Now I tend not to watch live tv (unless it's a big sports event,) so I can fast forward through the adverts.

commented: Ditto. +0

I have the same problem; loss of high end frequencies (age related). I find voices muffled and loud background (?) music doesn't help.

Like Waddell said, I noticed the thing with adverts too. I can barely hear what they say at a football match but when the adverts are on it's like my ears are bleeding from all that sound.

I think the adverts are loud in order to grab your attention, however, many people have now developed a very acute reflex to hit the mute button when adverts come on and off, or they don't watch live TV at all. So, this strategy seems to have worked against itself, and I hope marketing firms are realizing that.

I think that TV series and movies just use the loud music or loud sound effects to give that "WOW" factor when the dramatic scenes hit their climax. This can make sense some times, but too much of it is just nauseating. I don't mind the loud love song during the pottery scene in "Ghost", the loud and crazed "The Doors - The End" in the first scene of "Apocalypse Now!", or the loud "Pan Pan Pan Po Pan-Pan Po Pan-Pan" when the galactic cruisers come around in "Star Wars". But these are all highly-dramatic, dialog-free scenes. Adding loud music in a scene that is not particularly dramatic and has dialogs is just wrong, it's like cooking a meal and putting all the spices that you have in one pot, as if every additional spice made the meal better, when in fact, the art is to find that perfect mix of a few spices, otherwise, you get tasteless mud.

Basically, loud music is the technique that bad directors use to hide their lack of talent as movie-makers: they shoot a scene badly, it doesn't come out well on-screen, so they add loud music to make it more exciting / dramatic. Nowadays, this seems to be the norm, and it's getting worse.

That behavior is nothing new -- they've been doing it every since TV was invented. I remember lots of talk about the same subject when I was a kid, some 50 years ago (or so ).

The audio is usually first victim of "modern content delivery" mechanisms. Netflix content via my Roku device exhibits this behavior.

Some audio content/scenes/sound_whatever on cable-HD are all over the map.

I remember Rabbit-Ears!

Every other YouTube video I see involves someone taking a movie scene and adding their own music. It's pretty rare that the new music improves things. I'm wondering if people now simply need music with everything and the movie / TV producers are simply giving people what they want (loud music, loud explosions, who cares about dialog and plot?). I hope I'm wrong.