Explore Hearing Problems and Solutions

Listen to the Audio: Explore Hearing Problems and Solutions

Hear this discussion from our Longevity Explorers — circles of older adults who meet monthly to explore solutions to the challenges that come with aging.

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from: Longevity Explorers | Sequoias SF, SF Village, Hearing

Discussion Summary

Hearing problems and some helpful solutions were the focus of this virtual group meeting. Many of the problems involved hearing persons who live with or interact with others who experience slight to severe hearing loss - and sometimes other medical conditions, besides. The interaction of the members brings to light a number of scenarios that undoubtedly have been encountered by our wider audience.


The Problems

  • Hearing loss in someone with dementia
  • Low range loss or high range loss? Social impact: People may think you are ignoring them; become annoyed with having to repeat. 
  • Using Zoom, the sound is often muffled.
  • Noisy gatherings - a problem in crowded venues like restaurants (some now have 'sound ratings')
  • Mask wearing muffles sound and hides lip-reading clues
  • Need something better than passing around a mic for group meetings
  • Headphones - good for hearing audio players, but they block out ambient sounds and voices.
  • Music industry workers may be especially prone to hearing loss
  • iPhone sound is sensitive and picks up ambient clatter (vs. conversation).
  • Poor manipulative ability with hands interferes with device use (iPhone, etc).
  • "Hearing aids are often not worth what you pay for them.



  • Speed dial button on phone with photo identifier 
  • Phone with closed caption display and large fonts + keep messages brief
  • Signal processing hearing aids (expensive) have 3 programs:
    • directional hearing to clarify speech
    • non-directional for music, loop signals 
    • T-coil for direct hearing from broadcast equipment
  • TV watching
    • turn on closed captioning (except for news broadcasts due to poor sync)
    • 'TV ears' or earphones for deference to others nearby 
  • Air Pods Pro or Bose noise-canceling headphones (good for low tones)
  • Resound Hearing Aid devices
  • iPhone - user can adjust changes in sound pitch settings
  • Bluetooth between the hearing aid and computer vs thru the air
  • Sennheiser headphones: 3 options for listening: voice, music, or in between (fades sometimes while streaming)
  • When teaching: someone listens for the questions and repeats them.
  • Advised to get hearing aids before they are essential (delay may hasten dementia or decrease in cognition).
  • Hearing aids too expensive? Try 'hearables' for amplification.
  • Zip hearing discount program
  • Seek websites with hearing loss tips for caregivers 
  • Hearing and Speech Centers in major cities
  • Roku remote accommodates earbuds/cuts out TV sound over the air
  • Bose soundbar for improving the sound of TV / Sony not as good on low tones
  • Neck worn receiver + headphones


Member Feedback

One member later reported on a common problem and recommends a solution: The best phone for improving the sound on a phone is Clarity (here is one example: the Clarity Alto phone on Amazon). "The device we used before the Clarity phone was the Serene Portable Phone Amplifier- 30dB.   The problem with this one was that if you did not hang the headset up correctly, you did not disconnect the call.  So we went to the Clarity and it was amazing.  It was really loud for my mom and we could soften the sound for us."

  • See Clarity Phones in the Tech-enhanced Listings database further down the page.

The take-away for the group was that most hearing loss problems are common to many and that there is a wide variety of possible solutions available depending on the type and severity of the problem. However, there is much to be discovered in order to meet everyone's needs.






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Key words: 
hearing impaired, audio induction loop, hearing aids, Hearing assistance app, Hearables, TV hearing augmentation equipment