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FAQ about TV Listening Systems


Do you have trouble hearing the TV? Does your family tell you to “turn it down!”? Do you want to get a TV listening system, but you are overwhelmed with all the choices? This information will help you select the best system for your needs.

  1. What is a TV listening system?
    A TV listening system (or TV amplifying system) connects to the back of the TV and wirelessly sends sound to some type of receiver, such as headphones, earbuds, or a neckloop. The most common two types are radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR).  Click here to see more details about the different types of devices.
  1. If my husband wears the TV listening system headphones, how will I hear the TV?
    The beauty of a TV listening system is that the person using it can adjust the volume to his liking, while the other person can use the remote control to adjust the volume to her liking. The remote control will not affect the volume of the TV listening device. The TV can even be put on “mute” and the person using the TV listening device will still hear it! That is why it is often called the “marriage saver”! Imagine reading peacefully on the couch while your husband watches the football game. Ahhh!  Life is good!
  1. I have a new TV. What type of TV listening system should I buy?
    It is very important to look at the back of your TV before selecting a TV listening system. Most new TV’s only have a digital audio-out jack. Many TV listening systems only connect to analog audio-out jacks. So, with a new TV, it is best to purchase a TV listening system that can connect to a digital audio-out jack.
    Click here to read more about how different devices connect to the TV.
  1. I wear hearing aids with t-coils. What system would work with my t-coils?
    If you have a manual t-coil (which means you can turn it on and off) then you can use a neckloop receiver.  Simply turn on your t-coils and the neckloop will send the TV sound directly into your hearing aids – no need for a headphone or earbuds!
    Click here to see an example.
    You could also install a home hearing loop which will also send the sound directly into your hearing aids and no neckloop is needed.
  1. I wear hearing aids but do not have t-coils. What do you recommend?
    This is really a matter of personal preference. Some people can wear the padded headphones over their hearing aids with no problem, but some people will get feedback or find them uncomfortable with behind-the-ear hearing aids. Depending on the level of hearing loss you have, you may be able to take your hearing aids out to watch TV. Another choice is described below in #6.
  1. I hate putting things in my ears and don’t want to wear those big “ear muff” type of headphones. Is there another choice?
    Yes! You can get a wireless speaker such as the Serene Innovations TV SoundBox. You can place the speaker near where you are sitting and since it is so close, you don’t need the volume very high. It also has a headphone jack if you decide you would like to use it with headphones. You can even carry into the kitchen to get a snack and hear every word!
  1. I already have a TV listening system. I just bought a new TV and it only has a digital audio-out jack. Do I need to buy another TV listening system?
    No! You can buy a digital to analog (DAC) converter.

I hope this information was helpful. Once you decide to purchase a TV listening system, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!  If you still are not sure, we would be glad to help you.  Contact us



Made for iPhone Hearing Aids

The “Made for iPhone” (MFi) trend is growing!  Hearing aid companies are making hearing aids that connect to the iPhone via an app.  With these hearing aids, you can stream phone calls, music, videos, FaceTime, and Skype directly into your hearing aids without needing a neckloop, phone clip or other intermediary device.  They connect easily to your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.  The app allows you to use the phone to change programs and volume.  It can also save a setting you like in a certain environment so when you return, you can go directly to that setting.  In fact, your GPS will know when you return and automatically adjust the sound to your preferred settings!  It even includes a program to help you find your hearing aids. 
TruLink 1
However, I think the best feature is that they can turn your iPhone into an assisted listening device by using the microphone to pick up someone’s voice and stream it directly into your hearing aids!  The “Live Microphone” (Starkey) or “Live Listen” (ReSound) turns the iPhone mic into a wireless, remote microphone.  The big question, though, is how well does it work?  As with similar devices, I imagine you must hold the phone very close to the speaker’s mouth to get good sound quality.
The LiNX hearing aid by GN ReSound was the first MFi hearing aid, released in February.  This was followed quickly in March by the Halo hearing aid by Starkey.  The Apple website lists 7 hearing aids that are MFi, but on closer examination, they are all owned by either GN ReSound or Starkey.
Audibel with TruLink App (Starkey)
888 771-8606
Audigy AGX with TruLink App (Starkey)
800 432-7464
Beltone First with HearPlus App (GN ReSound)
800 235-8663
MicroTech Kinnect  with TruLink App  (Starkey)
800 745-4327
NuEar iSDS with TruLink App (Starkey)
800 626-8327
ReSound LiNX with ReSound Smart App (GN ReSound)
952 769-8000
Starkey Halo with TruLink App (Starkey)
888 481-5512
joined Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program
joined Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) programjoin
joined Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program

Oticon claims to have joined Apple’s Made for iPhone program……but not really.  It does not stream directly into the hearing aids, but has just come out with an updated Streamer,  the Streamer Pro 1.2, that can be paired with the iPhone via the ConnectLine App.  It seems to me that the ConnectLine App is nothing more than a remote control, as it lacks the features of the truly Made for iPhone hearing aids.  It does allow you to save settings for different environments, but the real advantage of the MFi hearing aids is that you no longer need a neckloop/streamer!

If you have tried any of these MFi hearing aids, please leave a comment.  I would love to hear how you like them!

Why didn’t you answer the door!?!?

One morning I woke up, put on my hearing aids, shut the bedroom door so I wouldn’t disturb my husband, and began doing yoga in front of the TV while watching the news.  About 15 minutes later my cell phone rang and my husband shouted, “Why didn’t you answer the door!?!?”   He had accidentally locked himself out without his phone or keys.  He knocked (“pounded”) on the door, rang the doorbell many times and finally walked to a nearby business to use their phone!  This is when I realized I needed an alerting device for my doorbell!

Well, since I sell alerting devices, this should be no problem.  But…….there are so many choices!  Sonic Alert, Clarity, Silent Call, Bellman & Symfon, Serene Innovations, and more!   Well, I decided to try the Serene Innovations CentralAlert Signaling System.  I chose Serene Innovations (SI) partly because the price is equal to or less than the other systems, partly because I have used other SI products and like them, and partly because I like the way it looks!


I am very happy with the CA-360 Clock/Receiver.  It comes with a doorbell, bed shaker, and can also be used for phone notification.  The clock/receiver is small (6.5″ x 4.5″ x 2.25″), sturdy, and it is easy to set the time and alarm.  When the doorbell rings it flashes a VERY bright light,  and can be set to ring at a low setting or high setting.  It also has an off switch so only the light and bed shaker will alert you.  This is a nice feature if you like to wake up a bit more gently.

As with all alerting systems, SI makes various transmitters such as a baby monitor, a door knock/chime transmitter, a motion detector, an SOS Button to get someone’s attention in the house, and an audio alarm for smoke/fire or carbon monoxide.  You can also purchase a portable remote receiver.  I plan to get the portable CA-RX remote receiver (below) to keep in my office which is too far from my bedroom to hear the alert.  The remote receivers are handy to have in any room that is far from the clock/receiver and will operate up to 200ft. from the transmitters.


There are several ways to purchase the SI products depending on what you need.  Some of the transmitters are packaged with the receivers and others are sold separately.  To make it easier to find, I created a separate link on my website to see all the Serene Innovations CentralAlert products.   I know it can be confusing when using these systems for the first time.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  And hopefully, my poor husband will no longer have to worry about getting locked out when I am home!



Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

I recently experienced severe vertigo and diagnosed myself as having Benign Paraoxymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) because my symptoms were just like my brother’s and that was his diagnosis.  Don’t worry!  I also went to a doctor and received a tentative (pending more testing) diagnosis of BPPV.  For you San Diego folks, I highly recommend Dr. Ian Purcell, an otoneurologist, (or his associates) at the Senta Medical Clinic at Alvarado Hospital.  He and Dr. Michael O’Leary were featured on The Doctor’s television show.

Dr. Purcell’s office has one of only 6 treatment chairs in the country.  Here I am all strapped in!  The chair is used for diagnosis and for treatment.  They rolled me this way and that and a camera in the goggles recorded my eye movements, looking for nystagmus.  Such fun!

BPPV Testing

What does this have to do with hearing loss?  Maybe nothing.  Most of the articles I read said there was no connection between hearing loss and BPPV but a few said it could be caused by Meniere’s Disease.  The symptoms and causes of dizziness in Meniere’s Disease are different than the vertigo caused by BPPV.  Vertigo caused by BPPV is “positional” and the treatment involves exercises such as the Epley Maneuver.   However, it’s all in the inner ear, so I thought this would be important information to share.  If you have been diagnosed with BPPV, I’d love to hear from you!


Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Implant System – NEW!

This is a totally new hearing loss solution and I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about it in the media!  The Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Implant System received FDA approval on March 20, 2014.  Previously, cochlear implants (CI’s) were ONLY for people with a profound hearing loss.  The insertion of the CI damaged any residual hearing in the implanted ear, and the patient would become completely deaf in that ear when not wearing the CI processor.  Now Cochlear Americas has developed an implant that preserves hearing in the low frequencies!

The Nucleus Hybrid Implant System has 3 components – the Hybrid L24 Implant, the sound processor, and the built-in acoustic component that amplifies the lower frequency sounds.

Microsoft Word - P130016_Nucleus Hybrid™ L24 (approved).doc

The Hybrid L24 Implant is designed for people with high-frequency hearing loss who may have good low-frequency hearing. It incorporates a specialized electrode, which is shorter and thinner than a standard cochlear implant and is designed to stimulate the high frequencies while preserving your existing low-frequency hearing.

The Nucleus Hybrid Implant System is covered by most insurance plans, Medicare and typically Medicaid.

For more information, see this Fact Sheet and the Cochlear Americas website.

Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Where do you turn if you suddenly wake up deaf or hard of hearing?  There are many resources out there, but you would have no reason to be aware of them before this sudden, unexpected and devastating turn of events.  I’ve compiled a list of local San Diego resources with links to help you find similar programs in your area.  I have also listed a few online resources.  If you would like to recommend other resources, please enter a comment below.

Hearing Loss Association of America-San Diego Chapter

Meets on the third Saturday of every month at 10:30 – 12:30 at the LiveWell Center, 4425 Bannock Ave. For more information contact hlaasd@gmail.com
Find an HLAA chapter near you

Deaf Community Services of San Diegowww.deafcommunityservices.org
An agency that advocates, educates, and serves the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.  Services include mental health services, information and referral, employment services, and adult literacy programs.  (619) 398-2441
Find a similar program in your state.

National Center for Deaf Advocacywww.ncda-usa.or
Services include mental health services, deaf family violence prevention programs, legal services, education and leadership programs.  (619) 456-9609 V; (619) 272-4295 VP

Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) – www.rehab.cahwnet.gov
The California Department of Rehabilitation works in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders to provide services and advocacy resulting in employment, independent living and equality for individuals with disabilities.
(619) 767-2100 V; (619) 767-2159 (TTY)  Find an office in your state.

Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Programwww.ddtp.org
Provides free specialized phones from the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP)   1-800-806-1191
Find a program in your state.

DeafandHoH – www.deafandhoh.com
Deafandhoh.com’s goal is to help people with hearing loss connect and learn from each other in a positive and open environment. This site focuses on social networking, resources, medical research and technology.

Hear Gearwww.heargear.net
A source for assisted listening devices, resources and information.  Resources include videos, articles and links for more information about hearing loss.

The Center for Hearing Loss Helpwww.hearinglosshelp.com
Provides counsel, support, books and selected quality products to help deal with hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)www.hearingloss.org
Excellent website with educational material, resources, links, blogs, newsletters and more.  Join HLAA and receive the “Hearing Loss Magazine” and state newsletter.  (301) 657-2248

Which TV listening device will work with my TV???

Finding the right TV listening device for your TV can be very confusing.  Here are some guidelines.  For a description of the different types of TV listening systems, see “TV Listening Systems – 5 Types

Most of the TV listening devices and home hearing loops are designed to connect to the TV with analog audio-out jacks.  These are red and white RCA jacks labeled “audio out”.  They are usually on the back of the TV.  The words “audio out” or “out” must be written near the jacks.  If not, it is an “analog audio-in jack” and will not work.


If your TV doesn’t have these, check the back of your cable box.  The cable box should have the red and white RCA jacks.

The newer digital TV’s have a digital audio-out jack, usually labeled “digital audio-out (optical).”


You can see the digital audio out-jack on the top left in this picture (in the small white square).

Some of the newer TV listening systems come with both digital and analog cables such as:

If your TV does not have the red and white RCA analog audio-out jacks, you must purchase a TV listening system that can connect to your TV via the digital audio-out jack.  You can also buy a digital to analog converter at an electronics store.

Most home hearing loop systems connect to analog audio-out jacks.  The InLoop 600 comes with both digital and analog inputs.

If you would like help selecting the best TV listening system for your needs, please call me at 619 316-1817.  I would be glad to help you!


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