Ask Judy Questions: Music Listening with Music Links

Judy,

I have ITE hearing aids and would like to know what headphones you recommend for listening to CDs, radio, etc., when walking.” Thanks! Jan

Hi Jan,

The Wide Range headphone (called an earphone) hangs on the outside of the ear and works well with ITE (In The Ear) hearing aids. It is designed for a mild to moderate hearing loss:

http://www.beyondhearingaids.com/Product%20Catalog/Detail.asp?ItemCd=111

The problem with this headphone is that it’s a single mono earphone and, therefore, you won’t get the full, round sound. Here’s Becky Morris’ recommendation for hearing aids without t-coils:

If there are no t-coils, then I would recommend a stereo headset from Sony that lets each earpiece slip over the ear (similar to the Wide Range Earphone) except that it is stereo and the earpieces fit even better without being tight. They have thin earhooks to secure the pieces over the ear. I’ve bought them at Best Buy and Circuit City.

Recommendation for Hearing Aids with T-Coils
However, if your ITE hearing aids have good working t-coils (also called audio coils or telecoils) you’re in luck. Lately, people on hearing loss message boards are raving about a t-coil listening option called a Music Link. A Music Link is a type of ear link. Neckloops, silhouettes, and ear links do basically the same thing:

Neckloops
If you have t-coil equipped hearing aids, a neckloop is a way to get the sound to your ears. Hang the neckloop around your neck, plug it into the audio output jack of your audio device, switch your hearing aids to t-coil and listen without background noise.

Problem: Neckloops are mono devices. If you are listening to a stereo audio device (radio, ipod, CD player) you will hear mono sound - meaning the same sound in both ears.

Silhouettes 
If you have t-coil equipped hearing aids, silhouettes work like a neckloop but provide a stronger signal with less power because they sit closer to the hearing aid t-coil. Silhouettes look like flattened out BTE (Behind the Ear) hearing aids that hook over your ears. A wire runs from the bottom of the silhouette to the audio device’s audio output jack. Most silhouettes are wired to a mono plug providing mono sound.

Ear Links (T-Link, NoiZfree, Music Link)
If you have t-coil equipped hearing aids, ear links work like a silhouette but are lightweight and much smaller. Ear links look like the hook part of a coat hanger. Like the silhouette, a wire runs from each ear link to the audio device you are listening to:

  • T-Link (a light weight hands-free cell-phone headset)
  • NoiZfree (a light weight silhouette with a 3.5 or 2.5 mm jack to use with an audio device or cell phone)
  • Music Link (a light weight, stereo silhouette designed for listening to music)

What’s Special About the Music Link?

The Music Link comes as a single or dual Music Link. Because it’s easier to hear with two ears rather than one, try the dual Music Link. Here’s what people are saying about the dual Music Link:

Stereo Sound – The Dual Music Link comes wired to a stereo plug making it possible to hear quality stereo sound. (Although silhouettes are stereo devices, most are hooked together into a mono plug. This means that you will hear only mono sound. However, there are some true stereo-type silhouettes available that people just love – the Hatis Epic is an example).
More comfortable – If you wear eyeglasses and also use dual silhouettes, there isn’t much space behind your ear. On the other hand, the dual Music Link is smaller and more comfortable.
More economical – The dual Music Link is less expensive than dual silhouettes.
Fewer repair problems – Some silhouettes have cords that plug into them. These plugs can get loose or break. The dual Music Link doesn’t have plugs that get loose.
Stronger signal – The dual Music Link (and other silhouettes) sit closer to the hearing aid t-coils and therefore don’t have the problem of head movement causing signal fading that can happen with neckloops.

 Here are a few tips if you decide to give the dual Music Link a try:

  • First, if you’ve never used your t-coils before, ask your audiologist if they are activated and programmed properly. Or, you can try them out yourself by listening to a conversation on a landline phone. The Hearing Aid Compatibility Act specifies that all landline phones must produce a t-coil compatible signal. If the conversation comes through loud and clear, your t-coils are probably OK.
  • Second, see if you get any t-coil interference where you are walking. You can easily do this by switching to the t-coil mode and listening for any static.
  • Assistive Listening Devices (PockeTalkers, FM systems) are mono devices. You can use the stereo dual Music Link with these devices, but you’ll need an adapter – otherwise you’ll hear sound in one ear only.

Good luck, Jan. If you have any further questions, give our office a call at 1-800-838-1649.

Judy

2 Comments

  • By Roger Tiedemann, January 28, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

    I have a BTE aid with a severe loss. I am interested in being able to use the telecoil setting in my car as I drive without having to use a telecoil wire to my ear. Is there a solution that can be wired in-line with the speakers in a car to produce the telecoil signal? There are solutions for entire rooms where a wire can be strung around a room and connected to a sound system, is this possible on some level for a car?

  • By admin, July 5, 2010 @ 7:48 am

    I’m not aware of a loop system to listen to the radio. If you want to hear other people in the car, then Univox has a car power adapter to use the Univox chair loop kit. You place the chair pad in the seat, plug it into the car with an adapter. Then you hand a a lapel microphone to the passenger. You’ll be able to listen directly into your hearing aid telecoil.

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