Can anyone recommend computer headphones?

Posted by nancsw @nancsw, May 9, 2020

Hi, I need to get computer headphones to use for video conferencing for work. I'm considering BOSE 35 or 70, but I've seen comments that there is a fair amount of sound "sculpting" – I have no idea what that means. It seems like all the reviews and recommendations I've read focus on using headphones to listen to music rather than speech.

I haven't had a hearing test for awhile, but I think my hearing loss would be characterized as moderate, fairly level in the speech tones with a drop off at the high end. I don't have hearing aids at this time, since I've mainly been using email and IM for work. Any recommendations are appreciated, thanks!

Sorry for the delay in responding. Thank you to everyone who replied to this thread 🙂

@johnbishop, I’ll check into Plantronics, thank you for the suggestion.

@ner, your idea of trading hearing aids for headphones is basically what I had in mind. Though I’ve worn hearing aids for decades, I don’t have them currently (and won’t be visiting an audiologist any time soon). I can't hear much of anything through the computer speakers, so I will need to reply on headphones for now.

@IndianaScott, thank you for the tip, I'll check into DJ headphones as well.

@tonyinmi, you make a good point about using technology that works with hearing aids which are programmed for your specific hearing loss. But currently headphones are my only option. Even once I get hearing aids, I think it would be great if the audiologist could also provide a separate device with the same program as used in your hearing aids, but that you could plug into the computer and use with headphones.

@julie04, thank you for the info about neckloops. I’ll check out Williams Sound, once I get hearing aids again.

@joyces, I read print books all the time – it's a nice break from working on the computer all day – so there are still some of us out there 🙂

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@ner – 'rely on headphones' not 'reply on headphones', sorry 🙂

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@nancsw

@ner – 'rely on headphones' not 'reply on headphones', sorry 🙂

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Wow, @nancsw, I'm sorry you find yourself in this jam during the lockdown. What a terrible ordeal. Let's hope you catch a break sooner rather than later. and can get back to a more normal hearing capability.

Thanks for your post. I think you ask an excellent question, though I don't know if the HOH forum is the the best place to get the answer you seek. We are all very HA-dependent and perhaps we don't track solutions that don't involve HAs (and our responses reflect that). Still, I am interested in this and hope if you get a good tip about headphones off list you will post it.

I am interested in headphones because, while my HAs do flow the sound from Apple mobile devices, bluetooth support is unavailable for my Apple laptop, as far as I've been able to determine. If I am missing something I hope someone will correct me and send me to a better source of information. I would love to be wrong about this!

I listen to numerous webinars and online workshops/classes for professional education. These are not streamed like entertainment through a TV. Sometimes I can dial in on my iPhone and listen while watching the Powerpoint slides or other display on computer–but not always. So if I can't bluetooth the speaker via phone, and the computer speakers are inadequate, what other options are available if I want to hear the content better? I think headphones may be the thing, no? So do post if you get a good recommendation, though you may need to ask hearing people about it.

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@IndianaScott

I bought a set of DJ headphones. Just one sided, but with all channels on that side. They work the best for me for my computer and music.

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Hey Scott, do you wear hearing aids with these DJ headphones? If so, what brand/model did you get? Do they have a mic built in?

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@tonyinmi

@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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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.

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@joyces

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!

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Your idea, Julie, of the simple manual sounds great to me except for one thing: would it not quickly become outdated?

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Yes. This is why most of the manuals have been those printed by suppliers. Technology changes rapidly.

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I use a Drop HD-6xx over the ear headphones. They are an "open back" design equivalent to the Sennheiser HD 650.I wear it over a cochlear implant and a hearing aid on the the other ear. I found the "open back" causes less feedback on the hearing aid side. A CI by nature do not have feedback issues. This headphone does not have a builtin microphone.

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@julieo4

Yes. This is why most of the manuals have been those printed by suppliers. Technology changes rapidly.

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I continue to believe that a manual covering hearing issues in general–i.e., things like why you need a telecoil, the accessories that may help you, why each brand has its own line of accessories–would be helpful, especially to those buying their first aid. Yes, technology changes every time we blink, but some of the basic info remains with us for several years. If anyone is interested, contact me directly as I have all the knowledge to write, edit, illustrate, publish and distribute books.

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@georgechinsr

I use a Drop HD-6xx over the ear headphones. They are an "open back" design equivalent to the Sennheiser HD 650.I wear it over a cochlear implant and a hearing aid on the the other ear. I found the "open back" causes less feedback on the hearing aid side. A CI by nature do not have feedback issues. This headphone does not have a builtin microphone.

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I have a CI for one ear and the other ear is basically deaf so I wear nothing for it. I have little understanding of what you are talking about here, but am wondering whether it could be useful for me in any way. Can you comment on that?

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