By Les Goldberg
As a 70-year-old, I have trouble hearing my TV. There are no audio controls on the set itself, so I have to strain to listen to the dialogue when it is combined with background music.
My doctors tell me that “when you get to be your age” it is common to experience what is called “ambient noise” problems – the inability to distinguish different sound sources and tones and block them out. It is like trying to listen to one person speak in a nightclub with loud music, laughing and people shouting.
They said ambient noise is the same thing as background noise. You hear these terms used frequently when discussing devices with built-in microphones, such as Bluetooth headsets, computer headsets and webcams. The more ambient noise there is, the more difficult it can be to hear the caller.
In my case, watching TV is frustrating since my wife, only four years younger, does not suffer from hearing loss and background noise does not bother her. When the sound level is fine for her, it is inaudible for me.
My problem is only with the TV, so I wasn’t ready to explore hearing aides.
What I found, however, was a product called TV Ears.
Since I review all the products before considering them for this column, the manufacturer sent me a product to evaluate. I can safely tell you that of all the products I have reviewed over the years, TV Ears provided the most immediate improvement to my particular problem.
How do they work? TV Ears is a wireless TV listening device that uses an infrared signal similar to that used in your television remote control. You don’t need to have a wireless router.
Following the easy one sheet, easy-to-follow instructions, I plugged one end the audio cables into my cable box (or directly into your TV) and the other end into the headset base unit. Then I seated the headset into the base unit charger.
When the green light on the charger came on, I put the headset’s two ear pieces into my ears, turned down the sound on my TV and turned on the headset volume. I also adjusted the tone control to a comfortable combination of treble and bass.
Let me tell you, folks, the difference was amazing. With the help of the product’s “voice clarifying circuitry” technology, the manufacturer’s claims were unmistakably true:
“(This technology) automatically manipulates the audio curve to increase the clarity of television dialogue and decrease the volume of background sounds such as music and sound effects. The words seem to jump out of the sound track, making even whispers and accents understandable.”
Don’t like to wear headsets? TV Ears solved that problem, too. Weighing only two ounces, the headset is designed to rest under your chin, not on your head. It won’t mess up your hair, it won’t get hot and you can even watch TV lying down. The TV Ears tips adjust easily to your ears.
One TV Ears customer wrote:
“Just wanted to tell you that I have the latest and greatest hearing aid technology at a cost in excess of $4000. To watch TV, I take them off and use the TV Ears wireless headset. The hearing aids do not even come close to reproducing clear sound from the television as does the TV Ears product.”
TV Ears offers a variety of options, including a wireless speaker system, a special device for use with hearing aids, a mobile system for travelers and a 32-inch TV with built-in wireless transmitter.
Prices for TV Ears products range from $99.95 to $249.95 (the TV is $999.95). The product I reviewed was the $99.95 2.3 Wireless Headset system. It is available at www.tvears.com or (888) 883-3277.
Les Goldberg, APR is an award-winning, experienced journalist and public relations practitioner. His firm, Les Goldberg Public Relations, is one of Southern California’s pioneer public relations agencies specializing in high technology and consumer electronics.
Throughout his career Les has shared his knowledge and experience as a part-time professor for the marketing and business schools at several Southern California universities, including UCI, Chapman University and California State Universities in Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Dominguez Hills.
Today, in addition to his agency and teaching responsibilities, Les is a columnist for senior publications, including his popular “The Gadget Geezer” column which appears in Senior Reporter, Not Born Yesterday, Life After 50, Examiner.com and OCActiveSeniors.com. As a full-time journalist, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Glendale News-Press, Culver City Star-News, Stars & Stripes Europe, OC Metro, OC Home & Outdoors and Digital Photographer.
Among the companies that have benefited from Les Goldberg’s brand of public relations include Doctors Telehealth Network, AST Research, Ashton-Tate, US Robotics, Phoenix Technologies, Odetics, MAI/Basic Four, American Home Theater, Inland Technologies; Freedom Innovations, Flex-Foot, Incline SoftWorks, USA Wireless Inc., D-Link Systems, Bell Micro, Seiko Instruments and Etak, Inc., a division of Sony.
Les holds a Certificate in Public Relations from UCLA, bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America where he served two terms as president of the Orange County chapter and member of the PRSA National Board of Directors. A past winner of the chapter’s Distinguished Service Award, he has been frequently honored for his achievements and contributions to his profession and his community.
Visit Les’s site at www.LesGoldberg.com