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nancsw (@nancsw)

Can anyone recommend computer headphones?

Hearing Loss | Last Active: Jul 28, 2020 | Replies (22)

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@ner, any piece of Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) that uses your hearing aids will give you the best results. Your hearing aids are tuned to your hearing loss. All of the big name hearing aid manufacturers can sell you a device that plugs (or not) into your computer or TV that will stream the audio directly into your hearing aids. I mention the "or not" case since you can buy a remote microphone that is specific to your manufacturer. In this case, you place the remote mic near the TV or computer speaker to stream the audio to your hearing aids. The biggest drawback of going the "manufacturer specific" route is that if you change to a different manufacturer of hearing aids in the future, you'll have to buy their product to attach to the computer or TV. Every manufacturer uses a propriety signal to connect to their aids. There is no standard. Also, the manufacturers take us to the cleaners when it comes to this additional hardware that is needed. We pay more than we should. I say this because I don't think this hardware is considered a medical device. I'm not certain. However, we typically have to buy this manufacturer specify hardware from a third party (your audiologist), which adds an additional markup. A universal solution (non manufacturer specific) would be to use an induction loop. @julie04 already responded about this. You need to make sure your aids have a telecoil. If you can find headphones that do not feedback when you have your hearing aids in, an FM system is an option.
Tony in Michigan

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Replies to "@ner, any piece of Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) that uses your hearing aids will give you..."

Tony in MI, once again you've provided great info! However, I continue to believe that what we deafies really need is a manual to lead us through all the underbrush of various types/makes of aids and all their accessories!

You've just mentioned mics that pair with a specific brand of aid. Had one, tried using it, worked with my aid (which has a telecoil), but wasn't strong enough to even pick up TV audio when placed right in front of the TV speaker. Failed miserably during meetings. I finally just gave up on it.

Several people, you included, have mentioned induction loops. which apparently are useful WITHOUT needing to be purchased specifically for your brand of aid. The Williams induction loop has been mentioned often, as has the Williams Pocketalker (which seems to have received mixed reviews from people on this forum).

Am I correct in assuming that, if I buy a Williams loop and Pocketalker that it will simply work with my Bernefon (Oticon) aid?

Again, I'd be more than willing to do the work and front the costs to produce a simple manual for people who need aids and all their accessories. I don't doubt that it would have a small market–i.e., I'd eventually earn back the cost of publishing it. Decades ago, I nagged VEDA into publishing three books about inner ear disease and subsequently saw posts from people who had benefitted from them. In that case I edited, designed, prepared for printing, found the printer, and managed the distribution for VEDA, but didn't front the cost. Yes, books are "old school" these days…except for manuals or "how to" books that are not for reading but for reference. There's also a tiny market for books that are stunningly beautiful, and am working on one of those right now. Hard to discourage book designers!

There should be a grass root movement to update induction loops to digital technologies. There are gotcha's with the current very old analogy loop technology that can be eliminated by a digital based design. The new digital loop should be a licensed royalty-free industry wide standard (something along the public domain models of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth standards). Ages ago, there were industry wide standards for FM assistive listening system channels. Unfortunately, there was no successful efforts to maintain and modernize the FM assistive channels for technological advances. Thus, allowing manufacturers to get away with developing proprietary connectivity solutions, for brand differentiations and profitably high prices.