Five Best Accessories For Hearing Loss When Watching TV

Five Best Accessories For Hearing Loss When Watching TV

When you have a hearing loss, it can be hard to watch TV with family and friends. Let’s talk about turning down the conflict and turning up the fun. Here are our top five best hearing accessories for TV.

1. Wireless Hearing Aid Streaming
Stream directly from the TV to your hearing device technology

Why we love them:

Newer hearing technology often comes equipped with the ability to stream wirelessly. These devices transmit the sound directly from your television to your hearing aids. Like other wireless devices, these offer range and portability that you can’t get with other devices (or even with healthy hearing!). In other words, you might be able to hear the game when you go into the kitchen to make a sandwich! And they don’t just stream to your TV — some have the ability to connect to your smartphone, tablet, and other devices.

How they work:

There are a variety of ways to connect your hearing aids to the television.

  • Ask your hearing care provider if your technology comes equipped with a special program to help you hear the television better or if they can create one.
  • Hearing aids can also connect to devices wirelessly through separate frequency-modulated (FM) systems or Bluetooth devices. Ask your hearing health care provider for recommendations.

Tips for buying

  • To get the best sound possible, ask about having your technology memory programmed to optimize the sound quality of a direct-audio input (hardwired connection directly to your device).
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understand other operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could cause interference with other devices

2. Wireless TV Headphones

Why we love them:

These headphones give you a direct wireless stream from the television to your ears, therefore eliminating distracting outside noise. There is usually a volume control on the headphones that allows you to adjust the volume without affecting TV volume for other listeners. They come in two silhouettes: over-the-ear headphones and earbuds. Wireless capabilities allow you to listen from a space of your choosing without messing with cords. You may have to fend off others in your household for them because of their portability. You can hear the TV in other rooms — for example, while getting up for a drink during a commercial.

How they work:

Your headphones connect or pair to the TV through a radio, Bluetooth, or infrared signal. They do not work with a hearing device.

Tips for buying

  • Consider the primary purpose for use — i.e., whether you’re buying for TV and music or just TV. Device performance may differ depending on the auditory input.
  • Look for wireless headphones.
  • Check to see how long they hold a charge.
  • See if reviewers rate/describe the headphones as “comfortable” and/or “lightweight.”
  • Make sure you can listen to both the TV speakers and your headphones at the same time.
  • Check to see how far your reception reaches.
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understand other operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could
    cause interference with other devices.

3. Loop Systems

Connecting you to television, “looped” concert halls, churches, museums, and more

Why we love them:

Looping allows you to greatly reduce ambient noise and provides a better signal-to-noise ratio for auditory input via hearing aids, which act as tiny, personal audio streamers. Bypassing the need to hear the sounds in a wide-open hall removes possible technical difficulties like reverb (echoed speech) and feedback. Looping offers a hearing “shortcut,” making it easier for you to hear specific inputs in larger rooms.

How they work:

Looping systems serve as wireless loudspeakers that deliver sound from a source, such as a microphone, directly to your hearing aids. The looping system works similarly to Bluetooth technology, which can be used to stream phone calls, music, and other audio from sources that are Bluetooth compatible.

Tips for buying:

Your technology needs to be compatible with the telecoil in your hearing devices.
Check with your hearing health care provider for installation of a loop in your home, church, or office.

4. Wireless Streaming Devices

Helping you stream sound from the TV to your technology

Why we love them:

These media streamers transmit the sound directly from your television to your hearing aids. Again, like the wireless headphones, these offer you portability you can’t get with other devices. You will need to choose the system that works best with your specific brand of hearing aid. Be sure to talk to your hearing health care professional to get the correct device for you!

How they work:

There are a variety of ways to connect your hearing aids to the television.

  • Ask your hearing care provider if your technology comes equipped with a special program to help you hear the television better or if they can program one.
  • Hearing aids can also connect to devices wirelessly through frequency-modulated (FM) systems or Bluetooth connections.

Tips for buying:

  • To get the best sound possible, ask about having your technology memory programmed to optimize the sound quality of a direct-audio input (hardwired connection directly to your device).
  • Verify the range of any streaming or Bluetooth device you are considering, and be sure you understand other operative limitations from physical barriers in the environment.
  • Make certain you understand warranty and repair options.
  • Be aware that some products can generate a stronger permanent magnetic field that could cause interference with other devices.

5. Home Theater Sound System

Why we love it:

These can give you the coveted theater sound from a single source, plus there are no external speakers or speaker wires. We like them because some units use hearing aid technology for strong dialogue reproduction. It allows you and your fellow viewers to enjoy the same sounds at the same comfortable volume without any extra help. Plus those who join you for a TV marathon or movie night will love that they can hear everything more clearly too (even in those high-intensity, whispering-voices scenes).

How it works:

These systems use an all-channel speaker (or speakers) in the middle of the device. The sound system puts all the audio focus on the dialogue, therefore lessening the effect of distracting sounds. ZVOX single-cabinet home theater explains on their website: “This monaural speaker tends to ‘anchor’ the sound, creating clear, robust audio that is easy to hear. This design is particularly effective in reproducing human voices — announcers, actors, interview subjects.”
With higher-quality speakers and amplifiers comes a higher-quality sound; there is less distortion, offering a more natural sound.

Tips for buying:

  • Always opt for a warranty.
  • Ask us for our opinion!
  • Read the reviews online.
  • See if there’s a trial period.

Not sure what option is best for you? Contact our practice today and we’ll help you figure it out.

Complete Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation

Complete Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation

Why should I get a complete diagnostic hearing evaluation before buying a hearing aid?
Wouldn’t you like to know if your hearing loss is medically or surgically correctable before you invest thousands of dollars on hearing aids? Don’t you want to know if your hearing loss is indicative of a more serious underlying disease?

Most people think that all hearing tests are created equal, but that is not the case. A complete diagnostic hearing evaluation is done by an audiologist. It is designed to not only measure how much hearing loss you have but also what the cause is. This is important to ensure that you get the correct medical care or surgical care for your loss. It also can lead to further medical tests, such as MRIs or blood tests, to check for underlying conditions not visible in your ears.

A complete hearing tests will include checking your ears for wax and insuring your eardrum in whole and healthy. This is followed by a tone test to see how sensitive your ear is to different frequencies of tones (low pitch to middle and high pitches). Next your hearing is checked for speech awareness and clarity — how softly you can hear words and just barely make them out, and then how clear words are when they are loud enough to correct for any loss. The audiologist may also check to see what volume is most comfortable for listening to speech and at what point it becomes uncomfortable. These are your MCL and UCL levels. The next test is bone conduction, which repeats the original tone test using a bone vibrator placed behind your ear instead of listening through the headphones. This checks to see if you have problems in the middle ear area causing a blockage. The final test is usually one to check for eardrum mobility, followed occasionally by a reflex tone test. Once all test are done you should ask the audiologist to explain the results and any recommendations they are making for follow-up care.

In most states, hearing aid dispensers can ONLY do tests for the purpose of fitting hearing aids and not to rule out medical problems. So don’t just go into the hearing aid store for that free hearing test you see advertised in the local paper. Instead, your best medical care is to ask your physician for a referral to their audiologist to get a complete evaluation. If your evaluation shows a hearing loss that does not require any further medical or surgical evaluation or treatment, then you can safely move on to getting hearing aids.

8 Questions to Ask Your Doctor During Your Physical

Sometimes it can take a little nudge to get to the doctor when something is really bothering you. When you’re finally at your annual physical exam, make sure you use the most of your time with your health professional by coming prepared with these eight questions.

1. In addition to the flu shot, what other vaccines am I due for?
Vaccinations don’t stop when you’re 18. Ask your doctor what you need and when based on your health. If you ask them, their front desk should help you schedule and send reminders for other vaccinations you’re due for.

2. Am I at a healthy weight?
According to the Huffington Post, “Among more than 7,700 people, just 45.2 percent of those considered overweight (a BMI of 25 or more) and 66.4 percent of those considered obese (a BMI of 30 or more) were told by a physician that they were overweight, found a study in Archives of Internal Medicine.” Extra weight is a risk factor for a number of ailments, like heart disease and some cancers.

3. How’s my hearing?
The most common type of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which is caused by continual exposure to noise levels greater than 85 decibels (think the sound of a bulldozer). We don’t tend to think about losing our hearing until it’s already impaired, but NIHL usually occurs slowly over time, and you might not know that you have a hearing loss until it’s been established for several years. These days, we’re more susceptible than ever to NIHL through headphones, loud events, and even at work. According to the National Council on Aging, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased susceptibility to numerous other health complications, such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and anxiety.

4. What health issues am I at risk for?
The health issues that should be on your radar vary with age, lifestyle, and sex. Whether you’re sexually active with multiple partners or have been monogamous for years determines whether you should have an STI test. If you’ve recently picked up smoking, you should be more aware of the complications that follow. Or if you’ve gotten into an exercise routine, there are health benefits you may not think about that lessen your risk for certain ailments. Just be open and honest with your doctor to get the best health advice. Gender also affects your odds of hearing loss; the ailment is 5.5 times greater in men versus women.

5. Should I worry about hypertension before I’m 50?
Yes, if you had a hypertensive pregnancy or have a family history of high blood pressure. Reader’s Digest Best Health reports, “We know that within 10 years of that pregnancy, women have an increased risk of significant hypertension, and their cardiac risk goes up 10 years earlier than the general population,” says Dr. Jan Christilaw, senior medical advisor for provincial women’s health programs at the BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre. What we do to our arteries in our 30s and 40s is critical: “Eat a reasonable diet low in cholesterol, maintain a normal weight, and exercise,” suggests Christilaw. According to the National Council on Aging, untreated hearing loss has been linked to increased susceptibility to numerous other health complications, such as hypertension.

6. Considering my family history, am I at risk for certain diseases?
It’s important to keep your doctor up to date on your family members’ current health statuses. It’s also smart to update this list with any new conditions each year and seek the proper information about early warning signs.

7. Check in with your emotional status.
If you’ve been feeling a lack of energy or drive or a change in appetite, you may be depressed. Sometimes people like to think it’s just a funk, but it’s good to talk about your symptoms to ensure you’re getting all the help you need to live your most fulfilling life. The same goes with stress levels. Stress affects both your mind and your body. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, depressed mood, anger, and irritability. People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or the common cold, and vaccines such as the flu shot are less effective for them.”

8. Whatever else is on your mind.
Have a weird tick? Maybe your elbow hurts or there’s a new spot on your skin you didn’t notice before. This is the time to ask those questions you’ve had since you last saw your doctor.

If you have questions about your hearing, or protecting your hearing, ask your doctor to refer you to a hearing professional or Contact us to make an appointment!