TV & Hearing Aids

Watching a TV can be an issue if you got some level of hearing loss. In some cases, the problem is even worse if you do not wear hearing aids. There are many solutions for both the cases, whether you use hearing aids and weather you don’t.

Introduction

One classic problem with watching TV, is that you want to increase the volume while the rest of the people in the room claims it’s too loud…

In a case like that, you might need something that will amplify the sounds for your ears only.

If you already use some device for amplification, you might come across another issue - the sounds of the TV are not aligned to the picture. Meaning, you see the news, and the lips movement of the host are not aligned to what you hear.

I usually divide the different solutions as follows:

  1. Personal generic systems, without the need of a hearing aid.
  2. Personal generic systems, that require hearing aids.
  3. A dedicated device, tailored by the hearing aids companies.

I’ll try to describe the different options available on the market and will give some examples.


Here goes…

Personal Systems - Without Hearing Aids

This is a very popular and widespread option. It is most popular with elder people that don’t want to have hearing aids for whatever reason.

When you use one of these systems, you typically place a transmitter next to the TV and a receiver next to you, or on you.

This is how it works:

  1. The transmitter receives the sounds from the TV. It is either connected to it by cable or it is simply placed next to it, using its microphone.
  2. Then, the transmitter sends the signals to the receiver, by all sorts of wireless options. It can be a FM signal, a Bluetooth signal, infrared signal and so on. It doesn’t really matter, for the sake of this explanation.
  3. Once the receiver gets these signals, it sends it to your ears. It can do it either by using a dedicated headset that comes with the device or using a standard headset. This changes from model to model, depend on what you got.
This diagram illustrates how it is done:
tv hearing loss The TV is connected to the transmitter by cable. The transmitter sends the signal to the receiver(R) which is also a headset (or connected to a standard headset).

Personal Systems - With Hearing Aids

These solutions are also common. Its great advantage is that they can work with most hearing aids. As long as you have a T-coil option in you hearing aid, this should do the work for you.

It works pretty similarly to what I described above, with one (major) difference: The receiver sends the sounds directly to your hearing aids.

Here is a general description of how it works:

  1. The transmitter receives the sounds from the TV. It is either connected to it by cable or it is simply placed next to it, using its microphone.
  2. The transmitter then sends the signals to the receiver, by all sorts of wireless options. It can be a FM signal, a Bluetooth signal, infrared signal and so on. It doesn’t really matter for the sake of this explanation.
  3. Then, the receiver gets these signals and sends it to your hearing aids. Typically, you wear the receiver as a neck loop, and this neck loop sends the sounds to the T-coil inside your hearing aids.

This diagram illustrates how it is done:

tv with hearing aids The TV is connected to the transmitter by cable. The transmitter sends the signal to the receiver(R) which you wear as a neck loop. The receiver generates electromagnetic signals that the T-coil knows how to handle.

Here is a video of a device for TV and hearing aids. I don't know how is the product, but it illustrates well the concept of how it works.

A Dedicated Device - Per Company

Most of the hearing aids companies got solutions that work with their own hearing aids. They develop this device to connect your TV to your hearing aids. Since they develop it tailor made for their own hearing aids, many time this solution will work best.

Some of these devices are planned to handle only TV, but on many cases, the companies come up with a device that does lots of other stuff. For instance, it can connect your hearing aid not only to the TV, but to other audio sources around the house.

Typically, you place some transmitter next to the TV, and you use additional device as the receiver. The receiver sends the signals to your hearing aids usually using one of these methods:

  1. Using a unique wireless transmission method (which changes from company to company).
  2. Using the T-coil in some manner. Sometime using a neck loop.

Bottom line

There are many solutions out there. If you use TV often, it can really improve your life quality. Some of the solutions are not too expensive, so it’s worth checking.



Important note and a disclaimer

I write this for the sake of hearing aids users that find themselves confused by all the wireless terminology and misunderstandings. Therefore, I try to keep things as simple as possible and I simplify things to make them clearer. In addition, the discussion here is in the context of hearing aids and hearing aids’ users. I don’t try to cover the entire wireless world here, and therefore, all the data is observed from the angle of a hearing aid user and for his/her benefit.





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