Hearing Solutions for Watching TV
Even a mild hearing loss can make it difficult to enjoy everyday listening activities, including watching your favorite shows on tv. Fortunately, many options exist to improve the listening experience of watching tv even if you have hearing loss. Here are our favorites:
1. Direct TV Audio Streaming to Hearing Aids
Many new hearing aid models offer direct Bluetooth connectivity. This allows audio to stream wirelessly from smartphones, music players and TVs directly into both hearing aids with crystal clear sound quality, no discernable time delay, and frequency response and volume that is precisely calibrated to your hearing loss. Streaming distance is approximately 30 feet, so you can walk around the room, or even into another room, and continue to hear music or audio through your hearing aids as clearly as though your ear is up against the streaming source. Talk to your audiologist to find out which hearing aid manufacturers offer this feature that expands hearing aids into marvelous multi-function devices.
2. Hearing Aid Streamers
Many hearing aids that don't offer direct connectivity can still wirelessly interface with a tv via an audio streaming device worn around the neck which receives the signal from the tv, and transmits it to both hearing aids. The Oticon Streamer, Phonak ComPilot, and the Widex ComDex are examples of hearing aid streaming devices.
3. Loop Systems
A hearing loop system connected to the tv can offer wireless transmission to hearing aids equipped with a manual telecoil. This can be a helpful solution to use with older model hearing aids that may not have Bluetooth capabilities. The loop system delivers clear sound into the hearing aids, effectively turning the telecoil-equipped hearing aids into wireless headphones while reducing background noise and the effects of distance from the tv. Speak to your audiologist to see which loop system might be best for you.
4. Wireless TV devices
There are many wireless tv devices that work without hearing aids. These are best for people with borderline hearing loss who are not quite ready for hearing aids. A base plugs into the tv which also serves as a charging station for the wireless headset. The wireless headset has a volume control and tone control which the user can set to his/her preference while leaving the tv volume at a level comfortable for other family members. Infrared systems require the user to be in line of sight with the tv, while radio-frequency devices maintain good audio quality even if the user turns his head away from the tv.
5. Home Theater Sound System
One home theater sound system designed specifically for those with hearing loss is the HypersoundTM System. Specialized speakers generate a highly directional, narrow beam of audio to a targeted listener in a specific spot, delivering an immersive, 3D-like audio experience. Sound output can also be programmed to a user's hearing loss for an improved frequency response personalized for the user.
If you live in or near the greater Houston, TX or Pearland, TX areas, and want to demo one of the above devices to improve your listening experience while watching tv, call The Center for Audiology at 713-255-0335. Drs. Shiane Lubin, Sara Nagel, and Cristina Vallejo offer expert hearing evaluations and consultations to determine the best hearing solutions for your specific hearing needs.