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Are you looking for the best soundbar because you’re hard of hearing? Well, we all know when it’s time to get a soundbar, and that is when your family is complaining that the volume is too loud. Of course, you’re complaining that it could be louder. These days your flat screen tv just isn’t bringing enough volume for you to hear the dialogues. You could put on the closed caption but reading the text on the screen for one and half hours of intense drama is too much work to feel entertained.
A soundbar is a practical option to consider when finding your tv hard to hear. When everybody can enjoy equal listening levels and sound quality, TV watching doesn’t have to be a battle with the volume.
What is a Soundbar?
A soundbar is an external speaker that takes the sound from the tv and amplifies or makes the sound louder or clearer for listening. As television manufacturers developed flat-screen devices, they were made to be thinner. However, the audio components of these devices had to shrink to fit. The microphones and the sounds coming out of them are now noticeably reduced. The smaller your tv, the less projection of sound coming from the tv.
When closed captioning is not preferred
A soundbar is an excellent option if we do not want to deal with closed captioning. Perhaps you are in a situation where not all streaming content or cable shows will have the captioning you need. Owning a soundbar will allow you to get better audio from your TV.
The other benefit of soundbars is placing the soundbar anywhere in the room. While a soundbar is typically situated under or by the tv, a wireless soundbar can be placed anywhere around the room. So, for example, you could have a soundbar close enough to where you are sitting, and your hearing aid will be able to pick up sounds from the soundbar. In addition, if your hearing aid has an app, you may be able to control the sound from your hearing aid to absorb the sound from the soundbar by focusing on background noise.
Why use a soundbar?
Soundbars are best suited for people who are hard of hearing. We need the added boost of sound to hear from the television without sitting too close to the tv. We shouldn’t have to turn up the volume too loud to annoy our family or roommates who are hearing.
Another option if the soundbar is not of interest to you is using a headset or streaming audio to your hearing aids or cochlear implants. This gives you the chance to have the sound directly into your ears without any background noise. Plus, soundbars may not provide the amplification depending on how large the room you’re in. In addition, you’ll get the flexibility to choose your own volume without negotiating with others in the house.
One important thing first. Your TV audio needs to be reasonably good because soundbars are not a replacement for poor audio. The only capabilities of the soundbar are to take the audio that is available from the tv to enhance it. If there’s garbage in, there will be garbage will be out. Without the quality sound from the tv, the soundbar cannot fix it.
Reviewing five brands
I will share five different brands of soundbars used by people with hearing loss. In addition, I’ve gathered insights and comments from the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities online and reviews from people with hearing loss to help you find the best soundbar for you.
Pyle 3D Surround Bluetooth Soundbar
The Pyle soundbar offers good audio for your money. The brand may not be a household name. Still, the functionality and sound quality make this a favourite for people with hearing loss. Even though this device is quite large, many people compare this product’s performance to top brand names like Bose.
- Uses Bluetooth connectivity, USB and other standard wire connections
- Links up to smartphones, desktop computers, Alexa and other Bluetooth-enabled devices
- Includes an FM radio
- Comes with remote control with features to adjust the audio, like increasing bass sounds
- The sound quality matches that of some high-end speakers.
- The sound projects far across the room but is ideal for smaller spaces.
- The wireless option can give you the flexibility of placement.
- It’s a large device that takes up a lot of space.
- Setting up can be challenging depending on your TV and technical skills. The manual included may be too complicated to follow.
- The voice audio is not as clear, not the type for a home theatre.
ZVOX Dialogue Clarifying Sound Bar
No matter what your hearing loss, if you have a mild or severe hearing loss, this speaker was designed to focus on voice and help you better hear the TV. Amplifying sounds sometimes don’t give you the clarity you need. ZVOX provides a small and lightweight design that offers enough sound boost without turning up the volume.
- Connects to TV with one wire
- Easy installation
- Setting features to boost voice clarity.
- Remote control
- Reduce the volume of noise and background music part of the tv program to focus on voice and dialogues
- Provides six choices for audio clarity to choose from
- Improves speakers who mumble, but the audio doesn’t eliminate the problem
- Requires a little trial and error to set up and settings at the best level for you
- When music is only playing, and there’s no dialogue, it silences the sound for that period
- You may need to increase the volume for open concept homes, but then the sound reverberates
Vizio matches the length of a 32″ tv screen, and with this size device, you can get a good hearing within the range of 8 to 9 feet away from this soundbar. In addition, the base gives a nice vibration feel. Overall, many people with hearing loss talked about how this device can provide a clear dialogue when watching movies or tv shows.
- Projects as high as 95 dB
- Battery operated with Bluetooth connection to be 100% wireless
- Remote control features allow adjusting the bass and treble
- Option to connect to other devices other than TV
- Can hear the voices clearly at an average volume
- Low-cost speaker if budget is of concerned
- Works well with small size TVs
- Known to repeatedly shut down, return to TV audio or not sync with TV without proper setup
- When you are 9 feet away or in a noisy setting, the volume may reach its max and still not improve
- It takes time to set up as this device is not plug-and-play
Bose is a higher-end speaker and a favourite among all the audiophiles. It can do more than amplify your TV’s sounds but provide extra volume with other smart devices or speakers like Alexa or Echo. In addition, the attractive design makes it easy to fit right into the home.
- Connect with other Bose devices, speakers, headsets, hearing aids
- One connection between tv and soundbar via Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
- App provides more Dialogue Mode feature to provide clarity to voices
- Remote control option as well
- Accentuates all of the quieter sounds
- Provides crystal clear audio
- Can hear dialogues on tv over background noises
- Setting up the soundbar to meet your needs will take time
- Syncing issues may arise with improper setup
- Some features are on the app and not available on the remote control
Sonos is a brand with a compact design speaker that many find appealing. Using your smartphone to control your Sonos soundbar, this device will allow you to skip having another remote. In addition, the settings on the app will enable you to benefit from the speech enhancement feature.
- WiFi connection only. No Bluetooth option.
- Only need to use the tv remote control. All setup occurs on an app.
- Setting includes a speech enhancement feature.
- Simple set up, but customer service can remotely connect for troubleshooting.
- Gain clarity of speech using the speech enhancement feature
- Suitable for not reasonably size rooms
- Provides just enough volume but is not too loud
- Need to use the app and set up an account to set up
- App asks for permission more than required, such as your location
- Can’t use the device without an internet connection