The Christmas and holiday season with friends and family is upon us – great you say – but for those with hearing loss, however mild, this brings challenges.
We put seven hearing tech devices through their paces, with a panel of clients and experts, each with varying levels of hearing loss. Here are their votes on the most challenging times to hear at Christmas and the best hearing tech to help.
The devices were chosen to cover a range of hearing losses, hearing situations, prices and ease of fitting. All devices are approved and available, either fully or partially subsidised, on the Australian Government Hearing Services program, Department of Veteran Affairs (White & Gold card for hearing loss) and available for private health purchasers.
Our hearing tech line-up included are the Audeara A-02 and Sennheiser RS 195 over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds were represented by Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX and a less obvious option for people to consider are Sennheiser's stethoclip style earphones, the RS 5200. In the hearing aid category were the Unitron Blu devices (available from an entry-level, fully-subsidised device to eligible clients on the Australian Government Hearing Services program, through to Premium) and the cutting-edge Phonak Lumity range.
So which festive events made the all-important hearing top 5?
Coming in at number 5 is the Christmas call home
We’ve suffered lockdown; now we’re all looking forward to getting up-close and personal with the ones we love, but phone and zoom calls are still a feature of life for some, especially for family members overseas. The majority of devices had easy, fast Bluetooth connection to phones, computers and tablets. Bang for the buck was awarded to the Audeara A-O2 headphones or the Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX buds that had great portability for those with only mild hearing loss.
Company Christmas party is number 4
Think noisy, packed rooms with colleagues where it’s not polite to ignore; others you’d like to know better and above all, being seen to join in. The panel was adamant, only the two hearing aids (Unitron Blu 3 winning on value) with their directional hearing technology, can provide comfort in background noise and focus the microphone directly onto the speaker. None of the earbuds cut the mustard in this sound environment and a big negative for the earbuds was form factor – being highly visible, they make you look like you are listening to something else rather than engaging with the event and people around you. If you are avoiding hearing aids, your best strategy is to place yourself in a quiet corner with plenty of light to lip-read and invite close confidential conversations
This covered everything from Church services, to school plays or the end-of-year business town hall. Think large space and small voices. For mild hearing loss, Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX buds are a great solution – their personalised fit amplifies the sound to your ideal volume in these simple sound situations. Hearing aids will of course perform best for a wider range of hearing loss and many churches and theatres have telecoil which feeds sound direct to hearing aids. No buds or aids? Look for a seat in front of the speakers.
Whether it's watching Love Actually for the fifth time, Home Alone with the kids, or planning a summer of cricket, the biggest vote was for watching TV at your own volume. It’s the RS 195 headphones and RS 5200 earphones all the way for sound quality! Hearing aids also offer quality sound which can be enhanced with a TV streamer, plus adjustable noise cancellation so you choose how much you hear around you.
Christmas Day with family
This was hands-down number one, for importance and hearing complexity. For your hearing, it’s all about changing situations and noise levels - talking to the grandkids, helping prep the meal and keeping up with conversations around the table. For mild hearing loss only, the Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX buds will keep you in the game. For any loss above mild, hearing aids are the winner; Phonak Lumity boosts soft-level speech and has adjustable noise cancellation if things get too loud. Motion sensors scan as you move between tasks, rooms, or in and outdoors to optimise the sound settings for your new environment.
No hearing tech? Let everyone know you are finding it hard to hear, so that they can attract your attention before talking to you. Keep a wing-man close-by, who can ensure you’ve caught all the important points.
Whatever your festive, party or family season looks like – get into the “Hear and Now”. It’s no longer just about hearing aids, it’s about hearing tech and hearing health and Connect Hearing have a range of hearing solutions including hearing protection, hearing enhancement, aids and accessories to help. Check out our online store for product information.
Take the plunge today! And if you do it before 23 December 2022, you can get 20% OFF the above-mentioned Assistive Listening Device range (excluding hearing aids) at any Connect Hearing clinic, or on our online store (use code ALD20 at checkout).
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where you belong.
* Fully-subsidised devices available to eligible clients under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program only or DVA Gold or White card holders (for hearing loss). Terms and Conditions apply. Read on for more information.