FAQs About TV Listening Systems
The following is a guest post by Marilyn Weinhouse, the owner of HearGear.net, which is a great shop for assisted listening devices and other hearing related accessories. Ms. Weinhouse also writes at the popular HearGear blog, where she providers in-depth reviews of the latest assistive listening devices on the market. Marilyn has a moderate hearing loss and wears two hearing aids, and can personally vouch for the efficiency of every product on her site. If you have any questions regarding ALD’s, Marilyn is your go-to expert.
What is a TV listening system?
A TV listening system (or TV amplifying system) connects to the back of the TV and wirelessly sends sound to some type of receiver, such as headphones, earbuds, neckloop, etc. The most common two types are radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR).
If my husband wears the TV listening system headphones, how will I hear the TV?
The beauty of a TV listening system is that the person using it can adjust the volume to his liking, while the other person can use the remote control to adjust the volume to her liking. The remote control will not affect the volume of the TV listening device. The TV can even be put on “mute” and the person using the TV listening device will still hear it! That is why it is often called the “marriage saver”! Imagine reading peacefully on the couch while your husband watches the football game. Ahhh! Life is good!
I have a new TV. What type of TV listening system should I buy?
It is very important to look at the back of your TV before selecting a TV listening system. Most new TV’s only have a digital audio-out jack. Many TV listening systems only connect to analog audio-out jacks. So, with a new TV, it is best to purchase a TV listening system that can connect to a digital audio-out jack.
I wear hearing aids with t-coils. What system would work with my t-coils?
If you have a manual t-coil (which means you can turn it on and off) then you can use a neckloop receiver. The neckloop will send the TV sound directly into your hearing aids – no need for a headphone or earbuds!
You could also install a home hearing loop which will also send the sound directly into your hearing aids and no neckloop is needed.
I wear hearing aids but do not have t-coils. What do you recommend?
This is really a matter of personal preference. Some people can wear the padded headphones over their hearing aids with no problem, but some people will get feedback or find them uncomfortable with behind-the-ear hearing aids. Depending on the level of hearing loss you have, you may be able to take your hearing aids out to watch TV. Another choice is described below.
I hate putting things in my ears and don’t want to wear those big “ear muff” type of headphones. Is there another choice?
Yes! You can get a wireless speaker such as the Serene Innovations TV SoundBox. You can place the speaker near where you are sitting and since it is so close, you don’t need the volume very high. It also has a headphone jack if you ever would like to use it with headphones. You can even carry into the kitchen to get a snack and hear every word!
I already have a TV listening system. I just bought a new TV and it only has a digital audio-out jack. Do I need to buy another TV listening system?
No! You can buy a digital to analog (DAC) converter.
I hope this information was helpful. Once you decide to purchase a TV Listening System, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! If you still are not sure, we would be glad to help you in the comments below.