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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:29 pm
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Location: North York, ON, CA
My father is 95, still going strong but is "very" hard of hearing, and loves watching old movies on both VHS tapes and DVD's. He is using 10+ year old Sony MDR-280 headphones through a Technics Stereo (strictly used as headphone amp). The Technics is early nineties and was the neighbour's garage stereo, who gave it to my Dad. I have no idea what the sound is like, but at least the headphone jack works. :lol:

Any suggestions for headphones? They have to light weight and comfortable. He wears them a couple of hours solid each night. The other key is that they would have to be very clear(?) sounding for voice distinction. A lot of the old movies have poor audio, and occasionally he has trouble following the dialogue.

Do headphones deteriorate with age? Or would I be better off finding a newer inexpensive stereo/amp with a headphone jack, rather than replacing headphones?

Thanks,
Dave


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:08 pm
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Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Hearing loss in the elderly, especially in the voice area, is usually in the lower mid-range frequencies. It usually requires boosting up the volume, mostly in that part of the frequency band to levels that are considered dangerous for the rest of human beings. And also implies that open air type headphones are not really suitable for this specific purpose as the resulting noise levels would be high enough to wake people in the next room.

So, first step: has your father been evaluated by an audiologist?
Does he wear hearing aids?

Does the receiver in question have Bass, Midrange, Treble controls, a Presence and a Loudness Contour switch? Low and High frequency filter switches?
Does it have built-in graphic EQ?

Without knowing what the Audiologists evaluation contains or which frequency bands his hearing is affected in, the general first rules would be to cut most of the bass and high frequencies out and to boost the voice range as high as possible (bass and treble controls tuned completely down, midrange control turned all the way up, low and high frequency switches engaged, loudness off, presence on) using SEALED type headphones.

As far as headphones go, I would also look at older, communications type headphones rather than the hi-fi types as those were designed for maximum voice intelligibility. Also, check to see if the headphones are hearing aid compatible (if he wears hearing aids).

But the first step must be to get an Audiologist to evaluate your fathers hearing.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:38 pm
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Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
I have suffered hearing loss and wear modern hearing aids in both ears. Mine have a setting for normal use and one for music. They also have a contraption that allows them to be used as headphones. It plugs into the tv or amp and has a volume control, when turned on the sound is muted for anyone else.

Old movies are the very best for dialogue. Actors spoke clearly and the producers kept ambient sound to a minimum so the audience could understand what was being said. Very much a stage to the screen concept. Nowadays, every actor out there can mumble away in a whisper like voice while music and sound effects compete for dominance. Drives me up a wall.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:31 pm 
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Location: Brampton, ON, CA
^^ beat me to it

Does he wear hearing aids? Newer hearing aids can be hooked up to TV's. They use a module that has RCA inputs which sends it to the earpiece. I believe it uses bluetooth. Very cool. Helped a friend hook it up once.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:22 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Hantsport, NS, CA
I have the same issue at my house, my father spent a lifetime working in a noisy industrial environment in the days before safety was a priority. His hearing what is left of it is not great. He has had hearing tests and it is officially bad. He does not like wearing over-ear headphones (makes his ears hot) so I bought a set of those in ear "TV ears" branded IR transmission headsets. Here is their marketing pitch "amplifies and clarifies television dialog while dampening background sounds so that voices are heard clearly. The words seem to jump out of the audio track, making even whispers and accents understandable. This technology also automatically lowers audio “bursts” during commercials to prevent jarring spikes in volume." All I can say is that he does use them and seem to work as advertised.
I am not a fan of the build quality as they seem kind of flimsy, so he treats them gently. Due to their price, I purchased a much less expensive opened set from the online auction site.

The ear buds are not adjustable on the headband and they point downward a bit too much for him so he kind of rests the earbud on ear slightly and that works well for him.

I no longer have to listen to a blaring loud TV. So from that perspective I love them.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:29 pm
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Location: North York, ON, CA
My Dad used hearing aids most of his adult life, but never liked them. He stopped using them (both ears) half a dozen years ago since he doesn't socialize nearly as much any more.

The idea of an Audiology evaluation makes sense. His last one was probably twenty years ago. However, whether I can get him out to do it is another issue. He enjoys his piece and quiet. :lol:

The Sony phones are closed type and he finds them very comfortable. The Technics receiver is a SA-GX330 with rudimentary controls, but is does have bass, treble and loudness.

After winter's over and the weather warms up a bit, I'll encourage him to visit an Audiologist. In the meantime, I'll try some of these suggestions.

Thanks Guys!
Dave


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:09 pm 
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Location: Riverview, NB, CA
I gave my Dad ,who was 90, at the time a pair of Bose headphones as they were very light and comfortable. The sound was pretty good and he was happy with them. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:11 am
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Location: GTA, ON, CA
I suggest IEMs - In-Ear Monitors type earphone, very light and offers decent noise isolation, can be custom made for best fit and comfort, since he is using headphone output, an Equalizer to fine tune the mid frequency may not help, as most do not have headphone jack, but some receiver comes with mini equalizer for finer mid-range adjustment.

http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... -2channel/


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:04 pm
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Location: toronto, ON, CA
I have quite a dip in my left ear centering on 4.5kHz and use a parametric EQ to adjust for it. Tweak the EQ with mono pink noise for a solid center in the cans.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:56 pm
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Location: Calgary, AB, CA
My profoundly deaf father faced the same challenges when he reached his nineties and could no longer understand the TV even at full volume with his hearing aids in. He tried various amplifiers (Whisper 2000??) with limited success and he was driving my mother crazy blasting her out of the living room.

I looked into various hearing aid transmitter and wireless headphone options but decided with my father's poor vision, declining dexterity, and low frustration threshold I didn't want him to have to deal with small switches or dials, Bluetooth or dead batteries in his headphones when he wanted to watch a show.

I found a solution at Long & McQuade (I have no affiliation or interest). I ran a 25 foot RCA patch cord from the Line Out on the cable box (under the carpet - I know it wasn't the best idea) to the table next to his viewing chair. I bought a Behringer HA400 headphone amp ($39) into which he could plug a set of over the ear headphones (I think we bought a pair of cheap Sony's or something which claimed to produce 130 db). This setup allowed mom to control the volume coming out of the TV speaker, and dad could take out his hearing aids, put on his headphones, and turn one knob to set his own volume. Changing the volume on the TV speaker did not affect dad's headphones, as it was being fed from the fixed Line Out. The Behringer is small and was capable of producing very high volume as it is intending for monitoring live performances.

They could both watch TV together again - marriage saved!


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