Choosing the Best
It can be difficult to choose between these devices and headphones with many different styles and technologies available so let us give you a quick how-to on choosing your best buy. One thing to consider is whether it offers sound amplification in other situations and connectivity with all of your devices. Many seniors may have cell phones that they struggle to hear as well. If this is the case they may benefit from a model that can offer Bluetooth connectivity such as the Bellman Maxi Pro Conversational Amplifier with Bluetooth.
There are a number of factors to consider as well such as the comfort they offer such as the softness of earpads and the sound quality they provide. As we said there are a lot of factors in making the best buy so lets take a look at some details about the types of TV listening devices to help you find the best one for your needs.
Types of TV Listening Devices
When you are shopping for a TV listening device you will find a number of different options all with unique pros and cons. Though understanding the difference between these devices can be difficult it may help to choose the right one for you. The most popular options out there include:
- Sound Amplifier: A personal sound amplifier works similarly to a hearing aid however there are some big differences. First of all they are not directly adapted to the hearing of the person in question the same way that a hearing aid will generally be but most hearing experts agree that a personal sound amplifier can actually help those with mild to even moderate hearing loss better than a hearing aid will.
These devices are far more affordable compared to hearing aids and do not require doctor or insurance approval in order to buy them. What these devices do is improve your ability to hear the sound produced by the television by picking up the sound from your TVs speakers transmit and amplify it to transmit to the receiving device.
This may sound similar to a hearing aid and it is but the difference is essential that it picks up and amplifies all sound rather than being customized to certain ranges of sound that you may have difficulty hearing. This really is comparable to reading glasses versus buying prescription lenses. It helps you to hear sounds you would otherwise struggle with does not require a medical examination and costs very little compared to a customized hearing aid.
Because it simply picks up and amplifies sound this device can also be handy to use generally similarly to how you would use a hearing aid. This makes them very useful multi-purpose devices to use in your daily life and possibly the best buy you can make to improve your ability to hear the TV.
- Infrared Systems: People commonly use infrared systems with television sets. These systems have a small transmitter in them which will convert the sound your TV makes into infrared light waves that then will be transmitted into whatever receiver you have such as headphones or speaker. The receiver will then turn the light back into sound which will then go into your ears. Generally this IR input will be plugged into the audio output of your television set. However if you happen to have an old television that does not have an audio output some of these systems will have a microphone that you can just put by the TV speaker. These infrared systems are particularly useful if you have a number of different rooms running different systems and you dont have to worry about radio interference since they are immune to this. Another advantage of infrared system services is that they are a lot more economical than a hearing aid so seniors can keep more of their money. However sunlight can interfere with these systems so you wont want to use your infrared system outside.
- Radio Frequency/FM System: This type of system transmits through radio waves. It will typically have a transmitter microphone attached to the television and a receiver such as a headset. Then the receiver sends this sound to your hearing aid if you have one or your ears. Like infrared systems these are more economical than hearing aids making them good for seniors on a budget. They also had the advantage of allowing you to listen in other rooms since the signal will pass through walls. So if you choose to and you can use them inside or outside. The main disadvantage they have is that they are prone to interference but this shouldnt be a problem if youre just using them to watch television. Another disadvantage is that you need to tune into the receiver and you may need to change channels due to poor reception even in the middle of a show. An FM system also generally requires special headphones which could be inconvenient for some people.
- Soundbars: More people are using soundbars now that flat-screen TVs are more common since these TVs sometimes have poor sound quality. This makes these devices useful even for those without hearing problems. Kids may even appreciate the improved sound quality when playing video games with online friends and the whole family may like the better sound when watching a movie from prime video making these possibly the best buy for homes with a mix of seniors and kids.
- Induction Loops: This system uses a microphone to pick up the spoken voice and transmit it directly to the listeners hearing aid that is equipped with a t-coil. For those with a hearing aid this is really convenient since you dont need to buy a separate headset. This system does need set up in a fixed area and you wont be able to easily move it. Also it will only work in the area around the loop. If you leave the area of the loop it wont work.
Types of Wearing Style for TV Listening Devices
Nearly as important as how the TV listening device works is the wearing style they offer. This can help determine the comfort and convenience of the device for its users and others. Lets take a look at a few of the options on the market today to find the best buy for you.
- Earphones and Headphones: Both of these fit over the ear. This is a popular choice and allows someone to listen to something without other people hearing. These are generally padded and extremely comfortable to wear. Plus they are typically highly effective at blocking out sound from the external environment which can greatly improve sound clarity. This can be a problem for those who like to hold conversations while watching TV and they are somewhat less convenient than earbuds however they do generally offer a better sound experience and comfort than the alternatives.
- Earbuds: Earbuds or in-ear designs do not cover your ears and as a result are less effective at blocking out outside noise. However this can be convenient for some who still want to hear some sound from their environment while listening to the TV. They are also generally quite small and convenient to use particularly if you would still like to be able to talk with family and friends while watching a movie. However it is important to keep in mind that they are a bit less comfortable for most to wear than headphones.
- Stethoscope Listeners: These headphones hang below a listeners ears and wont work for people with hearing aids.
- Neckloop Listeners: People that have hearing aids with t-coils can use these. These can wirelessly send signals. Two listeners hearing aid.
There are some features you may want to look for in your listening devices so lets take a look at a few of them to help you know how to choose.
- Volume Control: This is something all devices are likely to have but you can check to make sure that it is easy to access and use.
- Range: Youll probably want around 10 to 20 feet of range for watching television but some of these devices have more than twice that range should you need it.
- Bluetooth: There are a couple of listening devices that will allow you to pair your TV or phone to them. This could allow you to take calls while you are watching TV and then get back to your television show when your call is over.
- Hearing Aid And T-coil Compatibility: There are some listening devices that are compatible with hearing aids and this can be great for people who wear hearing aids. It can make using these devices a lot easier and sometimes maybe even more effective. So this is something that people with hearing aids will definitely want to look out for.
- Receiver: The receiver is the device the listener wears such as a listening loop headphones or possibly a hearing aid. These devices will probably have a rechargeable battery which is good for saving money on batteries. All you generally will have to do is place the device in a charging cradle when you are not using it. Make sure to check the battery life and charging time when choosing your model.
- Headphones: This is one of the types of receivers. The headphones can be wireless or wired. Wireless headphones are probably more convenient. They allow you more freedom in how far you can be from the TV or other device. There are two types of headphones the ear type or the type that goes in the ear commonly called earbuds. The over the ear type are probably more comfortable but it may stop you from hearing whats going on around you which could be a problem in some cases. . earbuds allow you to hear whats going on around you but theyre not always very comfortable. So the choice is really a matter of whats important to you.