How To Use Headphones With Hearing Aids
Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy HearingLast updated May 31, 20212021-05-31T00:00:00-05:00
Thanks to recent advancements in hearing device technology, millions of people with hearing loss are able to hear their favorite sounds and enjoy conversing with their favorite people. One perk this new technology affords users is compatibility with other personal electronic devices, such as smartphones and televisions. Sometimes, as in the case of headphones and earbuds, finding the right listening combination can be a bit tricky.
How Smart Earbuds As Hearing Aids Are Changing The Industry
This article has been audited and reviewed by Dr. Ben Thompson, an audiologist and tinnitus expert. For more information about Dr. Thompson, click his name or read his bio below the article!
For the longest time, the hearing aid market was stagnant. While the technology of hearing aids continued to improve, a lack of competition among makers, the expensive price of acquiring hearing aids, and the niche nature of the market itself led to stagnation.
In August of 2017, the Over-the-Counter Hearing Act was signed into law in order to increase both the accessibility of hearing aids and consumers options. As a result, the market is starting to see a number of earbuds, or personal sound amplification products , that are designed to help people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Update:Now, 4 years later, the FDA has finally released guidelines for the Over-The-Counter Hearing Act. These new rules are predicted to change the market, and Olive Union plans to work together with this new change to provide hearing to millions. Stay up to date on Olive Union news & products by joining our Waitlist and subscribing to the Olive Branch Newsletter at the bottom of the page!
These new earbuds feature a variety of functions, and while they will not replace hearing aids, they provide a valuable alternative to consider.
Summary And Final Recommendations
Just because you wear hearing aids doesnt mean you cant find a comfortable and compatible pair of headphones. There are so many available nowadays.
The key is finding one that delivers in the comfort department. This will vary depending on the type of hearing aids you wear. Use the criteria above and look at some of the standout models mentioned, and you should be able to find the perfect headphones.
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Will Sounds Be Different When Using Bose Soundcontrol Hearing Aids
Yes. Better hearing requires getting used to new sound, which can make some sounds annoying. For example, squeaky environment sounds, water sprays, or spoken consonants . You may need to practice listening to new sounds on your own before relying on them for conversation. Some people may not wish to make large adjustments to the World Volume and Bass & Treble adjustments, in which case, the sounds wont be much different at all.
What About Live Listen
If you don’t have a pair of AirPods Pro, you can still amplify your surroundings temporarily using a feature called Live Listen.
It allows your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to act like a microphone that sends sound to your AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max or Powerbeats Pro, helping you to hear conversations in noisy areas or hear someone speaking from across the room.
To use the feature, your device must be running iOS or iPadOS 14.3 or later.
Firstly, add Live Listen to your devices Control Centre by going to Settings > Control Centre. Then, tap the Add button next to the Hearing button, and finally, tap Settings to save your changes.
When you want to use the feature, you just need to open the Control Centre, tap the hearing icon, and tap Live Listen. Place your device in front of the person you want to hear more clearly, adjusting the volume on your device as needed. Youll even be able to see your headphones audio levels in real time and see detailed decibel information as you listen.
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What Are Prescription Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are tiny computerized mechanisms worn behind the ear to enhance the quality and volume of the sounds a person hears. Theyre composed of a microphone, amplifier and speaker. The sound enters the microphone, is amplified to the level the wearer requires, and then the speaker transmits the message to the wearer.
Hearing aids are prescription-only and they are fitted by a specialist to ensure youre getting exactly what you need for your individual level of hearing loss.
Headphones And Hearing Aids Can They Work Together
Headphones have been around since the early 1900s, and have seen many shapes and forms. They are the perfect way to listen to audio without disturbing those around us. For people who use hearing aids, however, headphones can be problematic. The major problem is that some headphones just dont fit over hearing aids. So, you might have to remove your hearing aids in order to put headphones on, but then you probably have to turn the volume up to levels that are damaging to your remaining hearing, which is less than ideal.
However, there are other problems too. If the headphone is pressed too close to the microphone of the hearing aid, then feedback can occur an annoying whistling sound that occurs when audio signals become mixed. And then theres the problem of volume: the audio youre listening to and the hearing aid each have their own volume, so its difficult to know the true volume of the audio. Some people may turn the music up when they should be turning the sensitivity of their hearing aids down. As a result of these issues, many hearing aid wearers have given up on headphones altogether, but it doesnt have to be that way there are options that will work with most hearing aids.
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What Type Of Data Is Collected Through The Bose Hear App
What Devices Are Compatible With Live Listen
To use Live Listen, your iPhone or iPad needs to be running iOS or iPadiOS 14.3 or later. To check whether your software has the necessary updates, do the following:Step 1. Go to Settings.
AirPods Open Settings
Step 3. Tap Software Update.
AirPods ClickSoftware Update
Step 4. Check to see what operating system your device is using.
AirPods Check your software
Step 5. If you need to, upgrade by tapping Download and Install.
In addition to the right software, you’ll also need a pair of AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, or Powerbeats Pro.
Did You Know: There are several types of listening devices and hearing aids that can be paired with an iPhone. For detailed instructions on connecting your hearing aids to an iPhone, view our iPhone and hearing aid setup guide.
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Jabras New True Wireless Earbuds Are Designed To Help Cope With Hearing Loss
The Jabra Enhance Plus.
Jabras Enhance Plus are a new pair of true wireless earbuds aimed at helping people who experience mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Theyre meant as a half-step towards a more traditional hearing aid solution, for people who might not be ready to wear a device all day. The Enhance Plus will be released first in the US at the end of the year, and will be sold through licensed hearing care professionals at a price thats yet to be announced.
Although Jabra is perhaps best known for its true wireless earbuds like the Elite 85T, its parent company GN Group has a long history in the hearing aid business. Now Jabra is also getting involved. It announced a new hearing aid lineup in June, and last year it added a hearing test feature to its true wireless earbuds, to customize their sound to your hearing.
The earbuds in their charging case.
The Enhance Plus are designed to be discrete, and are half as small as Jabras Elite 75T earbuds. But despite this, they also offer a respectable 10 hours of battery life, or 30 hours total when used with the charging case. They use beamforming to isolate sounds and amplify what youre listening to, and offer noise reduction and feedback suppression features to cut out unwanted background noise. Theres also a companion mobile app to tweak The Enhance Pluss settings.
Are Bluetooth Hearing Aids Safe
As hearing aids get more intelligent and connected, you might wonder if all these Bluetooth waves are safe. You can read some excellent research here, but the short answer is yes, hearing aids with Bluetooth are very safe. The power the devices emit is around one-thousandth as powerful as we receive when talking on the phone.
In other words, you would need to wear around 1,000 hearing aids to get the same effect as your cell phone.
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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 .
Best hearing aid styles for these headphones:
These headphones can also be used for completely-in-canal and invisible-in-the-canal devices.
What If You Dont Want To Wear Hearing Aids
Want to ditch the hearing aids altogether while you wear headphones? Thatâs an option, too. Depending on how severe your hearing loss is, you may want to get special headphones known as amplified headphones, which can deliver signals more loudly than standard headphones. A separate headphone equalizer allows you to boost low, mid and high frequencies to suit yourself and your unique pattern of hearing loss.
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Here’s How We Sell Premium Quality Hearing Aids At Such Competitive Price Points
Our business model is pretty simple. By cutting middlemen out of our process, we can guarantee our customers world-class quality at wallet-friendly prices. We don’t think fixing your hearing should break the bank. That’s why we work every day to keep our costs as low as possible because if our costs are low, yours are, too.
These Hearing Aids Make It Easier
Many people who wear in-the-canal hearing aids can use on-ear headphones in addition to over-the-ear models. Thats good news if youre looking for a headphones you can take on the go. On-ear headphones are typically lighter, and as the name suggests, they fit on the ears instead of the sides of your head. Many users find them more comfortable, though on the downside they tend to let in more ambient sound.
For on-ear headphones, our testers recommend the wireless Plantronics BackBeat Sense, which you can usually find for less than $70, and the Skullcandy Grind, which you can pick up for $50. Neither is too bulky, and they both earn high marks for audio quality. And if youre looking for exceptional sound, the $100 Grado SR80e is a consistent high performer in our testing.
You have even more choices if you use completely-in-the-canal hearing aids, which were made famous by Bill Clinton, who adopted them in 1997, during his second term as president. If you wear a CIC, on-ear and over-ear headphones are still the safest bet, but those hearing aids fit deeply enough that you may also be able to wear some earphones, which fit inside the ear.
CIC users may want to try the Bose SoundTrue Ultra, which seal the ear canal without fitting deeply inside it. The SoundTrue Ultra, $80, isnt noise-canceling like many of the companys better-known models, but it is wireless, and our testers praised it for both sound and comfort.
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What If You Don’t Want To Wear Hearing Aids
Want to ditch the hearing aids altogether while you wear headphones? That’s an option, too. Depending on how severe your hearing loss is, you may want to get special headphones known as amplified headphones, which can deliver signals more loudly than standard headphones. A separate headphone equalizer allows you to boost low, mid and high frequencies to suit yourself and your unique pattern of hearing loss.
Sony Playstation Gold Wireless Headset
- Price: $$
- Best with: In the ear, in the canal, completely in canal, invisible in the canal, behind the ear
These gaming headphones go over the ear. They have 7.1 virtual sound, and you can customize the sound levels in each game or default to the game creators modes. There is no separate microphone piece the mic is within the earpiece. You can also use them for PlayStation VR.
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The First Bluetooth Hearing Aid Launched In 2005
The Starkey Eli rolled out an option to plug an additional $300 piece into the bottom of your hearing aid that enabled phone calls. The design was clunky, but it pointed to a more connected future.
Ill spare you the complete history lesson, but you can read the full rundown here. The images below show the two-part device that was announced in 2005.
These New Hearing Aids Look Just Like Regular Earbuds And Pack Unique Tech
Signia Active hearing aids look just like standard consumer technology earbuds.
Its getting harder to see the boundaries between consumer tech and medical tech. An Apple Watch or Fitbit Sense is consumer tech, but theyll also tell you how oxygenated your blood is, whether your heart is healthy, and how much energy youve burned in a day.
Now were seeing the same shift in hearing technology.
For those who wouldnt be caught dead in hearing aids, its not coming a moment too soon. While perhaps a fifth of us have hearing loss, only 10-20% of those that do use traditional hearing aids.
The core reason? Stigma.
Thats something Signia Active hearing aids was designed to fix.
Theres a lot of stigma when it comes to hearing aids, but we also know that a lot of people need this assistance to help them hear in various environments, Tish Ramirez, a VP at WSAudiology told me recently on the TechFirst podcast. People are wearing earbuds everywhere you see them in the park, you see them in the grocery stores. You know, sometimes people want to be tuned out when theyre grocery shopping, they have their earbuds in, and these blend right in with the earbuds that are out there today.
Ramirez is an executive with a hearing technology company, WSAudiology, which owns multiple hearing aid brands, including Signia.
Theyre visible, but theyre cool. And they look high tech, Ramirez says â¦ which traditional hearing aids clearly do not.
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Elite Active 75t Earbuds
Jabras Elite Active 75t Earbuds may not include any type of amplification technology or be marketed for users with hearing loss, but they still come with some impressive features and technology that is usually seen on hearing aids such as sound profiles, passive noise cancellation, and HearThru mode.
Tips For Wearing Headphones With Hearing Aids
- If wearing your hearing aids with headphones, be conscious of how loud youre 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 and the length of listening time affect how much damage is done. Sound becomes damaging at 85 decibels . 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 doesnt help, its 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 dont turn the volume to dangerous levels.
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Picking The Right Combination
Before you pick a pair of headphones to use with your hearing aids, you must consider both the type of headphones you want and the type of hearing aids that you have.
Headphones come in two styles: on-ear or over-the-ear headphones. On-ear headphones sit directly on the ear and are usually lighter and less hot than over-the-ear headphones, which surround and cup the ear and press on the sides of the head.
When considering the style of hearing aids you have, keep in mind that compatible headphones are usually easier to find for smaller hearing aids than larger ones. Lets discuss the headphone friendly types:
- Invisible-in-the-canal these are the smallest hearing aids available and fit directly in the ear canal.
- In-the-canal these hearing sit right in the ear canal opening and are slightly larger than IIC hearing aids.
- Low profile low profile hearing aids sit inside the ear, usually taking up the lower ear bowl.
Because they all fit either directly in the ear canal or in the ear, these three types of hearing aids are usually compatible with all on-ear and over-the-ear headphones. The options for headphones are smaller than the remaining types of hearing aids:
- Behind-the-ear these hearing ears range in size but all have a component that sits behind the ear.
- Receiver-in-the-canal and receiver-in-the-ear the speaker or receiver of these hearing aids is built into the ear tip portion instead of the main body that sits behind the ear.