Benefits of earphones for the hard of hearingEarphones for Hard of Hearing

Many people live with hearing loss, especially as they grow older. Any benefit gained from earphones or headphones will depend on an individual’s degree of hearing loss, especially if they’re already wearing a hearing device. The possible degenerative aspects of hearing loss means that it needs to be diagnosed and treated, not simply masked or compensated for by volume. As most hearing aids already amplify sounds, any further amplification by using headphones requires caution as it could accelerate hearing loss.

Mild hearing loss is indicated when an adult experiences difficulties hearing or distinguishing sounds up to 25 decibels (dB), whether low pitch or (more commonly) higher pitch. Normal breathing is about 10dB, while someone whispering at a distance of 5 feet is about 20dB. A normal conversation at home registers about 50dB.

The ability of noise cancelling headphones to filter sounds can improve the ability to distinguish sounds and block out ambient noise. This can certainly be beneficial when listening to music, radio or television.

If you already have a hearing aid, your existing ear piece design and placement may limit any choice of headphone. If you have in-ear or back of ear devices a larger over-ear headphone is likely to provide a better fit than the smaller on-ear designs, while most earphones (in-ear) will be excluded.

Bone-conduction headphones, which rest on the ear and wrap around the head, were originally designed for people fitted with custom hearing aids and compromised hearing, but are now also an (expensive but ‘techno cool’) alternative to other designs. They send sound via vibrations through your cheekbones directly to the cavity of the inner ear (the cochlea). This bypasses the eardrum. They do not exclude ambient noise and the sound quality is not to headphone standard. However, they may suit those with particular hearing loss problems or an application not requiring quality sound … like a Zoom meeting.

The benefit of an Individualised Consultation

If you have an existing hearing loss, or if you are experiencing difficulty when using earphones during a conference call or a zoom meeting you may benefit from a one on one appointment with one of our expert hearing professionals at the Tasmanian Centre for Hearing. Customised assessment and advice will take the guesswork out of your earphone choices. Contact Us