Here’s what I found so far: Best Headphones for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

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It’s a situation that we are all too familiar with. 

The audio glitch begins when you’re ready for your online video call. No, this isn’t a “You’re on mute” moment. It is something else. It’s when your audio headset doesn’t want to connect to your laptop or desktop computer for some reason. 

“I can’t hear!” you yell. It’s a moment when you realize that very few people know how to lipread as you do. You give up trying to get them to understand your lips and instead type into the chat you have trouble hearing. The others are giving you a strange look, wondering why you suddenly realize you’re hard of hearing. You type to clarify that you think your headset is not working.

After unplugging and plugging the jack, leaving the video online room, reentering, and turning up the volume to the max, you realize you’ve got another headset to add to your graveyard of headphones over the last two years. 

I have had a Goldilocks moment since the start of the pandemic.

I went through numerous headsets to help me with hearing during video calls. Unfortunately, I bought many headsets: too big or too small, and some were just right. Finally, I cracked the code for what makes a good headset, especially when you wear behind the hearing aids.

You don’t have to only stream with Bluetooth to listen to calls or audio content.

It’s often not the most feasible solution with all the raves of using your Bluetooth connection between your hearing aids or cochlear implants and your audio devices.

A large amount of battery usage

The energy it takes for the audio to transfer wirelessly makes us use many batteries. These days, it seems you’re streaming everything with your hearing aids. If it isn’t the work video calls, it’s the TV or the telephone. It’s a pain to constantly change your battery midway through the day. You know you won’t have this problem when you are not using Bluetooth.

Sometimes, streaming allows for listening only.

Sometimes, Bluetooth streaming is only available for listening when using hearing devices. You may not be able to speak or communicate back without temporarily blocking access to a microphone.

Do you make these mistakes when it comes to buying headsets?

You buy headphones that are made for people with hearing.

It’s natural to buy a headphone based on the features of what they can do. However, we have another set of requirements often missed by hearing loss buyers. When choosing a headset, we are looking for the maximum volume to help us hear clearly. With the sound quality as near to our ears as possible, we benefit from additional amplification with our hearing devices.

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You haven’t figured out how you plan to wear the headphones with your hearing device.

Choosing the wrong headset means experiencing a whole hour of your hearing aid whistling, which can be very distracting and uncomfortable. In addition, sometimes, the headset’s position can lead to headaches, extreme sensitivity, numbness, and pain because you tried to adjust the speakers to sit around your hearing devices when they weren’t designed for that purpose.

When looking for a headset, we want one with enough volume and sound quality. We also want one that can sit well next to our hearing aids without causing them to whistle. Finally, it has to be comfortable to wear all day long. 

After scanning the web, I can share a few headsets that are a significant plus for people with hearing loss and ones that you might want to consider based on your budget and needs. So, in no particular order, here are the ones worth checking out. 

What I found to work best in finding headphones is picking one with the right shape—headphones with a round or square shape for the earcups and over 3.25 inches wide. The size should be large to cover the ear but not rest on the hearing devices to cause unnecessary feedback. These headphones are typically for gaming or at a music studio, but they allow you to continue to wear the hearing aids, get better sound experiences, and hear clearly at work and at home.

You’re choosing devices that require removing your hearing aids or cochlear implants. 

If you buy a headset that requires you to choose between your hearing aids and headphones, you are probably creating more extra work and annoyance. For example, switching your hearing aids for your headset at work is complicated when your office workers need to speak with you. 

Sony wh-1000xm3

  • Noise-cancelling feature
  • Bluetooth connection
  • USB-C charging option

Behringer BB560M

  • Noise-reduction feature
  • Low cost
  • Bluetooth and wired options for connection

Pros

  • It has a pretty good sound quality for a budget version.
  • The battery life is good.
  • It’s comfortable to use.

Cons

  • These devices are known to break easily.
  • The microphone is heavy, can’t be removed, and only works with Bluetooth, not a wired connection.
  • Bluetooth connection can be poor.

Pros

  • Good battery life; it can use for 8 hours and will not go below 50%.
  • Sweat-resistant and easy to manage for the active person.
  • It eliminates the majority but not all of the background noise.

Cons

  • Microphone quality is poor for your listeners. You may sound muffled to them.
  • One Bluetooth connection can be made at a time.
  • Uncomfortable to wear for slightly larger-sized heads.

Pros

  • Suitable for phone calls and watching tv
  • Easy to set up
  • You can hear musical notes that are crisp and clear for even a hard-of-hearing person.

Cons

  • Limited battery life compared to others.
  • Background noises are not fully blocked at the max level.
  • App and voice assistant can be glitchy.

OneOdio A71D

  • Shared port so others can listen with you without having to remove the headset
  • Foldable for travel
  • Earcups can swivel 90 degrees from front to back

Pros

  • Removable microphone or inline mic.
  • It feels lightweight and covers ears comfortably. 
  • A side swivel can be used for single-ear listening or to avoid whistling noise from the hearing aids.

Cons

  • It breaks easily and may last months, not years.
  • Sound quality may not be as good as higher ends.
  • No Bluetooth connection.

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