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.

The Best Headphones for People with Hearing Aids

The Best Headphones for People with Hearing Aids

Can you wear headphones if you have hearing aids? You bet you can! But there’s something you need to know before you go out and buy a pair.

We’ve got sound advice when it comes to:

  • Which headphones are best for your hearing aids
  • Tips for wearing headphones with hearing aids
  • Alternative headphone options

What are the Best Headphones for Your Hearing Aids?
1. Bone-Conduction Headphones:

These headphones allow you to hear sound through the vibration of the jawbones and cheekbones. This way the sound waves are directly stimulating the inner ear (your hearing organ).

Best hearing aid styles for these headphones:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)

2. On-Ear Headphones:

The opening in the center of the headphones sits over the ITE hearing aids of all sizes (ITC, CIC), so your hearing aid picks up the music through the microphone.

Best hearing aid styles for these headphones:

  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)

On-ear headphones can also be used for the following styles; however, feedback is more likely to occur with these types of hearing aids.

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC)

3. Over-Ear Headphones:

These sit over the ears, which helps with noise cancellation. Noise-canceling headphones are awesome for protecting your hearing and helping prevent future hearing loss.

Best hearing aid styles for these headphones:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC)

These headphones can also be used for completely-in-canal and invisible-in-the-canal devices.

What About Earbuds?

It may be obvious, but we have to say it: Earbuds don’t work when using hearing aids.

Tips for Wearing Headphones with Hearing Aids

  • If wearing your hearing aids with headphones, be conscious of how loud you’re playing your music as the tunes will be amplified. Use a simple volume-meter app that tells you exactly how loud your music really is.
  • The decibel level (the sound pressure) and the length of listening time affect how much damage is done. Sound becomes damaging at 85 decibels (the sound level of a bulldozer idling). Try the 60/60 rule: Listen to your device at 60% volume for only 60 minutes at a time.
  • Feedback happens if the headphones push on the hearing aid or sit too closely to it. To help with this, try repositioning your headphones. If that doesn’t help, it’s probably time to get a new pair that work with your hearing aids.
  • Try to buy noise-canceling headphones. The reason headphones have the ability to damage your hearing is that people turn up the volume to block out annoying background noise. Noise-isolating and noise-cancelling headphones help to remove the background noise so you don’t turn the volume to dangerous levels.

Alternatives to Headphones

Turn your hearing aids into built-in headphones.

If you were fit with two individual AGX® Hearing aids, they were created to interact as a single unit to deliver a more cohesive technology. Your units speak to one another, so when you make an adjustment for one, the other adjusts automatically. And with wireless Bluetooth® technology, you can stream audio from your television, calls from your cell phone or landline, or music from your computer with minimal effort.

Made for iPhone® Hearing Aids

Many hearing aids offer a wireless streaming function that pushes phone calls, music, video, and other audio to your devices, but the Made for iPhone Hearing Aids —perfectly compatible with your Apple devices — allow for use with FaceTime® audio, Siri®, and other Apple-specific media.

Don’t miss a beat — contact us today to see how we can make your listening experience even better.

iPhone, FaceTime, and Siri are trademarks of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Guide to Men’s Hearing Health

Guide to Men’s Hearing Health

There are countless things that can contribute to poor hearing health, from aging to loud noise, but one you may not be aware of is gender. A recent study found that the odds of hearing loss are 5.5 times greater in men than in women.

In honor of Men’s Health Week, June 13-19, we’ve put together this guide to men’s hearing health. We’ll touch on different health topics, how they relate to your hearing, and what you can do to keep your hearing healthy.

Hearing and Overall Health

Age-related hearing loss affects more than 60 percent of U.S. adults older than 70 years of age, and it has been associated with increased risk of hospitalization, decreased quality of life, and increased risk of functional and cognitive decline. The onset of hearing loss is gradual, with prevalence tripling from the age of 50 years to 60 years. Individuals who cannot understand or hear what others are saying sometimes choose to avoid social situations entirely, rather than ask others to repeat themselves — especially in situations where background noise is significant.

Cardiovascular Disease and Hearing Health

The association between cardiovascular health and hearing health has never been stronger. It’s all about blood circulation throughout the body. The Ear, Nose, and Throat Institute believes that the link between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease is because of the inner ear’s sensitivity to circulation. The disease causes hardening of the arteries, which affects your circulation and, in turn, your hearing.

Circulatory problems have the ability to affect any number of bodily processes, particularly in the most delicate areas of the body — like the cochlea, the delicate inner-ear organ responsible for sending sound signals to the brain. Conditions that restrict blood supply to the cochlea can starve the inner ear of necessary oxygen and permanently damage hearing.

Quit Hurting Your Hearing: Smoking

We know that genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors help determine a person’s risk of hearing loss — and that includes smoking.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, cigarette smoking was determined to be a factor in the development of hearing loss. Current smokers are 1.69 times as likely to have a hearing loss as nonsmokers, and nonsmokers who live with a smoker are more likely to have a hearing loss than those who are not exposed to second-hand smoke.

Those who smoke a pack a day for 40 years are 1.27 times as likely to have a hearing loss as those who smoke a pack a day for 10 years.

Hearing’s Connection to Mental Health

Many with hearing loss choose not to engage in social activities because the stigma associated with it is embarrassing, despite the fact that treatment is likely to improve their social lives.

Another survey performed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) found that those with untreated hearing loss were more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia, and were less likely to participate in organized social activities compared to those who wear hearing aids.

Another significant component of the NCOA study was that 2,090 close family members or friends of the hearing impaired were asked a parallel set of questions both before treatment and after treatment. Benefits of treatment with hearing aids were significant, offering improvements in many areas of life ranging from relationships and social life to sense of independence:

  1. Relations at home improved by 56 percent according to the user, 66 percent according to family and friends.
  2. Self-image improved by 50 percent according to the user, 60 percent according to family and friends.
  3. Life overall improved by 48 percent according to the user, 62 percent according to family and friends.
  4. Mental health improved by 36 percent according to the user, 39 percent according to family and friends.
  5. Social life improved by 34 percent according to the user, 41 percent according to family and friends.
  6. Relations at work improved by 26 percent according to the user, 43 percent according to family and friends.

Protecting From and Preventing Hearing Loss

Age is one of the most common factors in hearing loss next to noise-induced hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss is caused by changes in the inner ear that happen as you get older, causing a slow but steady hearing loss. The loss may be mild or severe, and it is always permanent.

Ways to protect your hearing at any age:

  1. Musician earplugs
  2. Custom earpieces
  3. Foam earplugs
  4. Earmuffs
  5. Hunting protection
  6. Education and awareness

It’s no coincidence Men’s Health Week is the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. If you or a dad you know are experiencing hearing loss symptoms and need guidance or relief, or if you would simply like to know more about what to prepare for during your various ages and stages, contact us today!