Hearing Aid Devices for Your TV
Walk into any retirement home lounge and the chances are good the television volume will be on high with most residents snoozing. The reason for this is dead simple. Our hearing declines as we age.
The same pattern repeats itself in extended families with grandparents forever asking kids to turn up the volume. What they actually need is personal sound amplification equipment for their TV listening device.
What Television Listening Devices Are For
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency charged with promoting public health through control of related products. The agency defines sound amplification devices as ‘wearable electronic products that are intended to amplify sounds for people who are NOT deaf or hard of hearing’.
The FDA makes it abundantly clear TV listening devices and similar equipment are not hearing aids, because they do not compensate for hearing loss. They therefore approve their use only under certain conditions of which the following are examples:
- Hunters alert for their prey
- Bird watchers listening to quiet calls
- Tuning in to conversations at seminars
- Increasing sounds at performances
- Listening to television turned down low
How Sound Amplification Devices Work
Sound amplifiers are a class of audio power amplifiers for personal use. Sound amplifiers have become part of life in loud speaker systems at large stores, and at pop concerts. Nowadays we also find them in clock radios, boom boxes and televisions where they compensate for their small power amplifiers.
Comparing Hearing Aids and TV Listening Devices
Some TV listening devices look remarkably similar to genuine hearing aids, although they have different functions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published an advisory we link to below, and summarize here.
‘Hearing aids and personal sound amplification products can both improve our ability to hear sound,’ assures Eric Mann, deputy director of FDA's Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices. ‘They are both wearable, and some of their technology and function is similar.’
However, he emphasizes only hearing aids are able to compensate for impaired hearing, which is seldom consistent across the spectrum. Take this diagram of noise-induced hearing loss, for example:
A person in the above situation might hear low-pitched voices clearly, but find some higher-pitched ones harder to interpret. A hearing aid should only amplify the latter, so they have a balanced audio experience.
But a television listening device or other audio power amplifier would do this across the range. In an extreme case, the lower pitched voices could become sufficiently loud to temporarily, or permanently damage hearing.
What’s Best For Me: A Sound Amplifier or a Hearing Aid?
The deputy director of the FDA's Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, and Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices recommends purchasing TV listening devices, only after eliminating the possibility of hearing loss making the audio sound quieter than it actually is.
That’s because if there is a curable condition behind this, delaying treatment could cause it to deteriorate further. Examples of health issues could range from ear wax build up to ‘a tumor or growth in the middle or inner ear’, he warns.
I Did the Test: They Told Me I Have Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss
If an audiologist explains you have mild to moderate hearing loss, but are otherwise healthy, this may well mean you have age-related semi-deafness which is what hearing aids are for. Eric Mann, deputy director at the FDA says the following symptoms may confirm this:
- We turn the television louder than other people like
- Friends and family tell us to ‘stop shouting’
- One ear works better but we still strain to hear
- We can’t hear high-pitch sounds from another room
- We keep asking people to repeat themselves or speak up
A Hearing Aid Is Also a Television Listening Device!
That’s right! A digital hearing aid has a volume control which is a luxury normal-hearing people often wish they had, when there are spoiled kids screaming nearby. Bluetooth TV to hearing aid technology enables streaming audio directly, but this is generally only available on more expensive equipment.
I Don’t Need That: I Just Want to Hear the Television News
If you have age-related, mild to moderate hearing loss, then Blue Angels Hearing can help you hear other sounds better that you miss dearly nowadays. We sell entry-level hearing aids that should improve your hearing significantly, and yes, they have volume controls to tune out the things you do not want to hear.
Your family will be delighted to know you purchased a pair of hearing aids with a money back guarantee, so the television no longer deafens them. And if an elderly person enters the room and turns it up again, you can turn your hearing aids down and enjoy the best of both worlds.