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Apple's AirPods Pro might be an inexpensive solution to your hearing loss


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This is really interesting to me as I do wear hearing aids. I have a new pair coming in that are black and in ear which look more like wireless ear-buds than hearing aids. And now this.

In an experiment by doctors in Taiwan, Apple's AirPods Pro were found to be as good as premium hearing aids in most scenarios for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. There's a caveat though.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-airpods-pro-hearing-loss-hearing-aids/?ftag=TRE834f6fe&bhid={%24external_id}&mid={%24MESSAGE_ID}&cid={%24contact_id}

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32 minutes ago, RV_ said:

This is really interesting to me as I do wear hearing aids.

While I don't wear them yet, that day may be coming since I do have some tinnitus. At a social in our senior community recently one of the fellows who has major hearing issues  was keeping his iPhone near whoever was speaking to enable him to hear what was going on. Now I am wondering if he might have been using something like that? 

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Posted (edited)

My hearing aids go the other way. I hear my phone in my hearing aids as well as sound from media like my Pandora account, movies, and phone calls. All private when connected and can only be heard in my Bluetooth connected hearing aids. If I want to share I can just disconnecting them then reconnect for normal use.

I have had behind the ear aids and now am trying out in the ear aids. The behind the ear in crowded environments made people behind me and several feet away louder than folks in front of me. I just got my first pair of rechargeable in ear aids and they are much better but highly visible. As well the rechargeable aids are much bigger than the ones using batteries that last a week. So I am getting a new pair od battery in ear aids and they come in black too so they look more like Bluetooth headsets than aids! And much smaller then the rechargeable ones that must be charged every night. The audiologist explained that the batteries for the rechargeable ones are twice the size of the batteries so that accounts for it.

My Pixel Pro 6 Android phone is connected to my aids and my Galaxy smart watch without a hitch and serve as Bluetooth head sets and last all week with the new battery version I will be using. So it can go both ways and I can keep my phone in my pocket because the aids have their own mics that  go directly in my ear from their own mics, not from the phone's mic. And I can hear the music regardless of where the phone is so that is a distinct advantage of aids in addition to batteries that last a week. I love how tech improves many aspects of our lives.

Here's a video showing how Air Pods do it:

 

 

Edited by RV_
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4 hours ago, folivier said:

Wish Samsung would have this feature. I tried their newest earbuds on my S22 and couldn't find that feature that would amplify from my phone. Maybe in the next upgrade.

I just got a pair of the Samsung Buds2 Pro earbuds. The app on the phone ("Wear") that lets you turn the active noise canceling on and off has a selection for Ambient Sound. I just tried it out and, with no media playing, I can hear all the sounds in the room a little louder than without the earbuds in my ears. I don't know if the amplification will go high enough to use as hearing aids - and the microphones are on the earbuds, so you can't position the phone to make things any better/louder.

Rob

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Howdy!

Thanks for the share RV. I have a set of AirPods Pro that I use quit often. I have tried to connect my AirPods Pro to our TV’s but in doing so it blocks the sound to others. I just tried this method with my AirPods Pro and it works great. I have a set of hearing aids that I seldom wear around the house and using the AirPods will come in handy.

” Happy Trails “

Chiefneon 

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On 1/3/2023 at 12:58 PM, Kirk W said:

 keeping his iPhone near whoever was speaking to enable him to hear what was going on. Now I am wondering if he might have been using something like that? 

I wear behind the ear hearing aids connected to my iPhone.  I can hear any media/phone calls over the h/aids, a very nice set-up.  I can also turn on the iPhone mic and hear everything transmitted by blu-tooth through the h/aids and can control the amplification.  Of course, I can also hear through the mic on the aids themselves but in very noisy environments, using the phone mic makes a huge difference.  Probably what that person was doing.  I can play media from my iPhone in noisy areas or conversations I don't wish to participate in and just sit and smile, happily enjoying some music in my h/aids, drowning out most of the conversation going on.

Edited by NDBirdman
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I have behind the ear hearing aids marketed under the Jabra name (previously Lively) and made by Resound, one of the major hearing air manufacturers located in Denmark.  These Jabra hearing aids are the "over-the-counter" versions  of Resound aids marketed through audiologists and selling for >$5k.  

I've had the hearing aids for a couple of months and have been very pleased.  The behind the ear electronics package is significantly smaller than on many other models and is nearly invisible.  Furthermore, the behind the ear piece is connected to the in the ear piece via a very thin wire, rather than a tube.  The wire on mine is gray and is nearly indistinguishable from my hairs.

My hearing aids are rechargeable (I didn't even consider ones that weren't).  After a full day or use they typically have 60% of their charge left.  They connect to my Android's Bluetooth and have the ability to provide a microphone capability.  So I don't need my phone at all when carrying on a conversation.  They can also stream Pandor or other music from the phone; I gather than not all Bluetooth phones can do this.  Some just use the Bluetooth for control of the phone.

Lastly, my phone has an app that allows me to alter the aids' frequency response depending on the circumstances.  Even though I don't do this a lot, it's nice to be able to switch to "speech clarity" mode when I'm in a crowd.  That mode boosts the high frequency response in accordance with my hearing loss measured as submitted to Lively (Jabra) and hard coded into my aids' response.

IMHO the strangest part of getting used to hearing aids is training your brain to ignore many of the sounds you are now hearing that you haven't heard in years!  At first you can be sort of overwhelmed by all the sounds you suddenly are hearing!  😀

Edited by docj
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DW and I each bought a set of https://audious.com/  in-the-ear hearing aids last November. H

So far they work as advertised, I can hear the TV much clearer and voices are easy to understand now.  We are very satisfied with them, and the best part is they cost $177.00 for each pair. They are rechargeable, and come with everything but a wall wort for charging, which is OK because I have extras lying around. As far as I can determine they are made in Germany.

 

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10 hours ago, docj said:

These Jabra hearing aids are the "over-the-counter" versions  of Resound aids marketed through audiologists and selling for >$5k.  

If you don't mind, what did you have to pay for them? Did you visit an audiologist first?

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14 hours ago, Kirk W said:

If you don't mind, what did you have to pay for them? Did you visit an audiologist first?

I have the best of Jabra's several models.  The posted retail price is $1999 but I caught a $300-off special.

You can either use Jabra's over the phone hearing test or submit a test from an audiologist.  I went to Sam's Club and had the audiologist there do a free hearing test.  Costo offers the same service.

The selling price includes three years of over the phone and online support and a loss/damage policy with a relatively small deductible.

Appearance-wise they are almost invisible.  The "in the ear" element is tiny and disappears into the ear canal.  It's less visible than many "in the ear canal" devices.  And as I already mentioned the behind the ear electronics package is quite small.

Edited by docj
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9 hours ago, docj said:

You can either use Jabra's over the phone hearing test or submit a test from an audiologist.  I went to Sam's Club and had the audiologist there do a free hearing test.  Costo offers the same service.

I need to look into that as I know that my hearing isn't what it once was and the background of the tinnitus so it can be difficult to know if aids will help. I don't have a major problem but there are times that it can be difficult so I'm looking to learn more.

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I need to look into that as I know that my hearing isn't what it once was and the background of the tinnitus so it can be difficult to know if aids will help. I don't have a major problem but there are times that it can be difficult so I'm looking to learn more.

I was in a similar situation (minus the tinnitus).  The audiologist described my chart as showing mild hearing loss in the lower frequencies and moderate loss in the higher frequencies (which is very normal for our ages).  What he explained to me was that it is better to get the hearing aids sooner rather than later so that the "speech processing" part of the brain doesn't lose function. 

I didn't really understand what he meant until I got the hearing aids and started to "relearn" to hear again.  Your brain does need to "remember" how to sift through the noise to extract the signals (usually speech) that you want to listen to.  Hearing loss is so gradual that you don't realize how much you aren't hearing until after your hearing is "restored."  In the evening when getting ready for bed, the world sounds soft, fuzzy, quiet without the devices yet that's what I've been listening to for who knows how long.

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43 minutes ago, docj said:

Hearing loss is so gradual that you don't realize how much you aren't hearing until after your hearing is "restored." 

Which is making me think that when I see my primary care physician next I'll bring up the idea of seeing an audiologist to find out. My wife is the one who I most often have difficulty hearing but then aren't husbands always guilty of not listening to a wife?   😊

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11 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Which is making me think that when I see my primary care physician next I'll bring up the idea of seeing an audiologist to find out. My wife is the one who I most often have difficulty hearing but then aren't husbands always guilty of not listening to a wife?   😊

All kidding aside, the higher frequencies associated with women's voices contribute to men's inability to hear them without hearing aids!

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My VA issued Signia (Siemens) BTE hearing aids retail for about $3500 each, so a lower cost alternative should be attractive to many people. My rechargeable aids do have features that the Airpods don't have of course, such as the Bluetooth connection feature for phone, TV, etc, that many higher end aids have. The phone app also gives me an aimable sound feature that's great in crowds, restaurants, etc. And my aids are tuned for my specific hearing loss and tinnitus. I think the lower cost OTC aids coming on the market would likely be a better choice than Airpods, aren't nearly as ugly... ;)

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I have a pair of Bose hearphones and use them occasionally. Too bad Bose discontinued them rather than improving them. Bulky since the earbuds are wired to the headband but harder to lose I guess. I need to find an app that will allow my phone to act as the speakers to pick up voices, etc. and send that to the hearphones via bluetooth.

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I have Unitron behind the ear hearing aids, rechargeable, Bluetooth to my phone, etc.  I had to have custom molds made for my ears - I have extremely small & curved ear canals that don't hold pods (or any earphone that doesn't include a headband).  Expensive since they are through an audiologist, but my insurance covers the full price with replacements every 4 years & Unitron warrantees them for 4 years.  I'd love to be able to try the iPods, but they won't work for me.

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On 1/3/2023 at 12:58 PM, Kirk W said:

At a social in our senior community recently one of the fellows who has major hearing issues  was keeping his iPhone near whoever was speaking to enable him to hear what was going on.

So, we're back to the days when my grandfather use to place the external part of his hearing aids on the table next to the radio to better hear the ballgame?

Linda 

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3 hours ago, sandsys said:

So, we're back to the days when my grandfather use to place the external part of his hearing aids on the table next to the radio to better hear the ballgame?

Linda 

I don't know about the iPhone, but my aids came with a small rechargeable microphone device that can be placed on a speakers podium, etc, up to 65 feet away. I've also used it for listening to a TV at a friends house when we were invited to watch a movie with them.

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4 hours ago, sandsys said:

So, we're back to the days when my grandfather use to place the external part of his hearing aids on the table next to the radio to better hear the ballgame?

So far I've not encountered a situation where i can't hear using just the microphones on the ear pieces.  If I find I need a bit more amplification of the TV I just use the phone app to turn up the volume on the hearing aids.

Edited by docj
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I do the same Joel. But it is interesting that Bluetooth enabled headsets that can act as hearing aids makes total sense at the much lower prices. I remember my first red LED Casio 4 function calculator that cost a lot in the 60! Today an LCD four function calculator with more functions added are $1.25 at Dollar tree and work better and use very little power.

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2 hours ago, RV_ said:

I do the same Joel. But it is interesting that Bluetooth enabled headsets that can act as hearing aids makes total sense at the much lower prices. I remember my first red LED Casio 4 function calculator that cost a lot in the 60! Today an LCD four function calculator with more functions added are $1.25 at Dollar tree and work better and use very little power.

I doubt there's anything that my hearing aids do that couldn't be designed into a Bluetooth enabled headset, but at present my aids are much smaller than the Apple or similar headsets.  Not that I care all that much about appearance, but the electronics package of mine is a very slender "pod" that is significantly smaller than on many less expensive hearing aid models.  Furthermore, instead of a tube extending from the electronics to the "speaker" there is a thin wire that is usually mistaken for a hair.  The speaker module is small enough to go into the ear canal far enough to be completely out of sight. 

Not that all this miniaturization couldn't be done by others but, at present, what I own is significantly less apparent than the Apple headset so many people walk around with.

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