Explorers Focus on Hearing Problems and Solutions

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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

Longevity Explorers from across the country discuss their hearing problems and share their experiences, good and bad, with hearing technology as they continue to seek better solutions. 


Gadgets that Help People Hear Better

In general discussion, group members mentioned a variety of experiences and devices, including:

  • Hearing Aid + T-coil + Bluetooth
    • T-Coil = direct signal from mic to hearing aids via loop antenna
    • Bluetooth = wireless signal from TV or phone to hearing aids + control sound & check hearing aid batteries on cell phone
  • Live Listen app = phone to hearing aids or headset
  • Don – a special type of hearing aid in two parts – one implanted next to eardrum for wide frequency range – very expensive
  • Roku remotes have a headphone jack for better hearing and sound isolation (switching back and forth can be a problem)
  • Crossover hearing aids: one is a mic transmitting to the one in the ‘good’ ear
  • Hearing aids in Covid: hearing devices are at risk of losing when managing masks and glasses.
  • Costly hearing aids can sharpen up speech or there is a mode to listen to musical performances
  • Rechargeables do not have the loop/T-coil capability. Battery models do.
  • Hard to hear persons who speak rapidly even with HA
  • Apple Air Pods Pro – alternate sound cancellation and ‘transparent’ modes. Can hear a buzz or rattle when speaking on the phone.
  • Eargo ‘hearables’ in-ear amplification // Lack amplification contour to compensate for range loss
  • New audio test equipment is so automated – accurate without human expertise required
  • Use the closed caption feature on TV


Some Common Problems

  • Without Bluetooth, hearing aids lack the fidelity to hear speaking voice over the background noise.
  • Background music scrambles the dialogue in TV programming
  • 'Squeal' in even expensive hearing aids -feedback- need an anti-feedback feature
  • Cell phone not as clear as landline
  • Need phone nearby to use Bluetooth
  • LED or compact fluorescent bulbs may emit interference in hearing aids


Watching TV and Hearing

  • Spousal friction can be caused when one needs a loud sound, and the other doesn’t.
  • Studio quality is lacking in News shows with remote contributors
  • Bluetooth TV to hearing aid solves many problems
  • Sound Bar can help sharpen dialogue


What This Group Wants to Learn

  • Dealing with background noise
  • Improving restaurant/crowd environment conversations
  • Social distancing – how to hear people talking 6 feet away
  • Improved directionality
  • Extender to converse across a wide table
  • Enable conversations in car seating
  • Hear young grandchildren with tiny, high-pitched voices

As a whole, the Explorers expressed many similar needs for tech solutions. They ended with the consensus that many hearing problems are common to older adults, yet there is much yet to be discovered to improve the state of hearing science and technology.




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Key words: 
hearing aid, hearable, headset, T-coil, Loop, hearing amplifier