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Coda

Headphones for partially deaf parent

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I know this is an unusual request.   My dad lost some of his hearing when he was in the services.   It was caused by a gun shot on a firing range.   He has difficulty hearing mid range and upper range frequencies but has no difficulty hearing low range frequencies.   The hearing aids on the market do little to help because boosting the high frequencies also boosts the lower end. 

I'd like to get him a set of headphones that he can use to listen to TV.    I want to find a pair that lowers the higher frequencies into a range that he can hear without boosting the bass.   Does such a product exist? 

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I have no idea but its simply not true that hearing aids cannot be set to boost specific frequencies and leave others undisturbed.  Has he actually been to an audiologist and had his hearing tested and had aids adjusted according to the results of his test?

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I think really "low-end" hearing aids may not be able to discriminate based on frequency, but (I think?) even "medium-end" hearing aids will definitely adjust to specific frequency ranges (and that technology has been widely available for 30 years or more.

I'm forgetting the details, but my mother taught audiology at the masters-degree level, and I'm almost positive this was the case back even before she retired in the late 90's (and sadly passed away about 15 years ago - or else I'd be able to confirm with her personally).

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My father (87 y.o.) has a lot of trouble hearing and has been through several sets of hearing aids.

The low-end models are basically just amplifiers. The higher-end models are definitely adjusted to specific frequency ranges (per audiologist evaluation).

Oddly, my father dislikes the high-end ones and insists on using the cheapo ones he got via Internet. OTOH, he dislikes wearing hearing aids in general, and often goes without or uses just one of a pair. But he's also developed Alzheimer's-related dementia, so it's difficult to reason with him.

Edited by T.D.

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I have Oticon hearing aids, which you need to purchase through an audiologist.  Although they are not cheap, they are definitely helpful.  They are Bluetooth ready and can be controlled through an iPhone. For example, if I’m on a conference call, they make the iPhone hands free.  They also dispense with the need to use headphones of any kind. 

I will admit I’m not a big fan of something in my ear and my family is always yelling at me to use the “god damned hearing aids,” but these hearing aids are very good. 

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Dad has hearing aids and was at the VA several times getting them adjusted.  He was told they're new technologies and told they should work as you're all suggesting.   Still, he complains that he can't hear higher voices and if he turns up the sensitivity on the aid the lower frequencies overwhelm him.    He's not tech savvy, can't use an iPhone or computer and never goes on the internet.  

Thanks for the replies, they're most appreciated.

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42 minutes ago, T.D. said:

My father (87 y.o.)... ...dislikes wearing hearing aids in general, and often goes without or uses just one of a pair.

My dad will be 92 in May, and (thankfully) it's only his right ear that he has lots of trouble hearing with.  He was fitted with a medium-grade hearing aid through an audiologist, but he says it really doesn't help much when he really needs it most (in crowded rooms, or noisy environments).  He says it basically amplifies the noise as much or more than what he's actually trying to hear.  As a result, I think he rarely wears it.

Unfortunately I live 1,000 miles away, and haven't been able to have much luck engaging with him about it (he's getting more stubborn as he gets older).

I'd probably force the issue more if I lived a lot closer, and saw him more than about 5-6 times a year -- and I may yet have to force the issue.

But for now he's mostly getting along pretty OK with his one good ear, which (thank heaven) really does still have pretty decent hearing for his age.

(He's gone into the audiologist for follow-ups about 4 times, but what I'm hearing secondhand from him is that no matter what they say or do, it just doesn't seem to work.  But he won't be very assertive about it when he meets with the audiologist, and I have no idea if he's really got the hang of what it is they're trying to tell him to do.  He has some other recent health issues that are not serious yet, but developing and potentially troubling - and I'm trying to focus on all that for the moment, which is about as much as I can do remotely from 1,000 miles away, without any other close family in his neck of the woods -- outside of St. Louis.)

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2 hours ago, Coda said:

Dad has hearing aids and was at the VA several times getting them adjusted.  He was told they're new technologies and told they should work as you're all suggesting.   Still, he complains that he can't hear higher voices and if he turns up the sensitivity on the aid the lower frequencies overwhelm him.    He's not tech savvy, can't use an iPhone or computer and never goes on the internet.  

Thanks for the replies, they're most appreciated.

Is it possible for him to get a second opinion? Sounds like the audiologist might not be terribly competent. 

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Yeah its very weird that we're talking about modern hearing aids but they can't seem to set them by his audio-graph which shows the loss of acuity across the spectrum of sounds. Even if it had to be set for 'some' boost to low frequency they should be able to massively boost high and mid-range to get a good result.

I really have to wonder either what aids the VA has or how they are getting adjusted for his needs.

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I can ask him but like all old folks, he's stubborn.   He also has sight issues which are taking up a lot of his time, 5 shots in each eye every other week and was hospitalized for a blood clot behind one of the eyes two weeks ago.   I'm sure he's Dr'd out.   

So it's safe to assume there isn't a headset made where he can make adjustments? 

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Here's what I found via a google search:

https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&ei=_LP9W8C8HYzYtQX3rq3oBA&q=tv+headphones+built+in+equalizer&oq=tv+headphones+built+in+equalizer&gs_l=psy-ab.3...121458.128162..128562...0.0..0.162.934.10j1......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j35i304i39.57fIUfftpSw

I assume TV is blue tooth compatible?  It seems as though headphones with equalizers have pre-sets, so you can choose "treble" as an option - would that be enough of a boost to work, who knows?

Here's the one with the equalizer pre-sets:

https://www.amazon.com/Mpow-Bluetooth-Headphones-Equalizer-Wireless/dp/B079JFB616

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