Low to Moderate Loss – Devices

Enhance TV Listening

There is a large variety of devices that are helpful for persons with low to moderate hearing loss. Some can even be helpful to those with high hearing loss, e.g, over the ear headphones, including those described below for use in the Chapel and Encore Theater.

Sound Bars

  • Sound Bars — these relatively inexpensive devices plug into the audio output of TVs and other audio sources.
  • They can be helpful for those with mild hearing loss.
  • Sound bars amplify sound for everyone in a room.
  • If two people are listening and one has no hearing loss, finding a mutually satisfactory volume may be difficult.
  • Shop carefully for good prices on sound bars.

Headphones, Bluetooth Transmitters.

Headphones and Bluetooth adapters provide a sound boost and are relatively inexpensive devices which plug into the audio output of a TV as well as other audio sources.

  • Over the ear headphones linked to a TV with a Bluetooth adapter overcome the problems associated with listeners who prefer different volumes.
  • Headphones can also be helpful for those with moderate hearing loss, providing a less expensive alternative to hearing aids.
  • The writer of this tip has found TaoTronics headphones to be of good value.
  • Shop and look for sales – costs range from $35 to $50.
  • High-end headphones are not needed for TV because the sound is not normally of high fidelity.
  • Connect wireless headphones with a Bluetooth adapter, discussed below.
  • Headphones can also be connected with a wire to other devices, which is normally included.
  • Built-in batteries, which must be recharged, provide power.
  • Low latency headphones are necessary to avoid conflict between sounds from speakers and sound coming via a Bluetooth transmitter. This conflict is due to sounds being out of phase.
  • Turning on noise reduction helps diminish conflict between speaker and headphone sound.
  • Bluetooth “adapters” connect wirelessly over short distances – a few feet – to Bluetooth headphones.
  • They are quite small and unobtrusive. The TaoTronics model pictured here is about two inches square.
  • The adapters are powered by a USB cable.
  • Connections to a source of sound is via auxiliary or SPDF ports.
  • Interestingly, they can be setup in receiver mode.
  • Low latency devices are necessary to minimize problems due to phase differences between sound from speakers and headphones.
  • Apt-X headphones and adapters provide better quality sound.
  • HEARING AIDS – some hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled and can link to Bluetooth adapters.
  • Test with hearing aids to be used with these devices to make sure they work. Return if dissatisfied.
  • Re-pairing: the device pictured, by TaoTronics, “remembers” pairings of two devices. This can cause problems if a third device is to be paired. The device manual explains how to reset and “forget” pairings.
  • Note well – such problems can occur with other devices.
  • Phonack has a similar device available for its hearing aids at $242. Other hearing aid manufacturers offer similar devices.
Bluetooth transmitter

Add Ons for Hearing Aids

  • Remote mics transmit via Bluetooth to hearing aids, picking up sound when others are speaking.
  • They can be useful for listening in crowded environments.
  • On the right are two examples of – the Phonic “Roger ON” and the “Roger Table Mic II.”
“Roger On” (left) / “Roger Mic II” (right)
  • The “ON” is worn by speakers on their lapel.
  • The “Mic” is placed on a table to pickup speakers voices during a meeting. Prices – for “ON”: $ 1k; Mic: $2.5k.
  • Search sites such as Amazon.com for much less expensive devices.
  • See tips – above, for Bluetooth devices.
  • Widex has similar devices, e.g., clip-on mic for $335
  • Shop around – it’s also available at $150.
  • For Oticon hearing aids, there’s the Oticon Clip, pictured at right – $350. The Clip enables,
    • Hands-free phone calls
    • Streaming of stream from smartphones, both iPhones & Androids.
    • Listen to someone speaking from a distance using remote microphone functionality.
  • Functions available vary between manufacturers.
  • Many devices only function with the hearing aid brand they are tied to.
The tiny Oticon Clip
  • Resound Multi Mic – $380
  • Extends the hearing range up to 25 meters (80 feet); clear line of sight required.
  • Lapel clip on and doubles as a table microphone.
  • Connects with loop and FM systems.
  • Mini-jack input to turn hearing aids into headphones.
  • Typically small: 2.05 x 0.75 x 0.59 inches; 5.3 oz.
  • Another example is the Signia clip on mic, an add-on for Signia hearing aids. It is claimed to:
  • Enhance conversations when the mic is clipped onto a person with whom the aid wearer is talking by compensating for background noise.
  • It can be used for other purposes by placing it near a source of sound.
ignia clip on mic


Soon after the original composition of this page, news came of advances and availability of earbuds as hearing assistive devices. The availability of such devices is being enabled by the new FDA Rule on over-the-counter hearing aids.. Things to consider / examples:

  • Earbuds can provide some amplification but they are limited in terms of how much amplification they provide and how they can be “tuned” to an individual’s needs. The features discussed here may not be available on older earbuds.
  • Jabra is marketing “medical grade” hearing enhancements.
  • Apple, Beats, Bose and Panasonic have been recommended by one audiologist as being best for amplification or noise cancellation with wireless earbuds.
  • One user related using the “Mimi Hearing Test app” to determine the pitches for which amplification is needed. The data obtained was used with the Apple Health App to tune earbuds. (Details: go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Audio/visual -> Headphone accommodations. Turn the green slider to the “on,” tap “Custom Audio Setup” to tell the phone to use the audiogram to set the amplification, transparency, tone, ambient noise reduction and conversation boost levels on Airpods.
  • Adjustments for Android phones were said to be available by going to
    Settings -> Sounds and vibration ->. Then,
    Advanced sound settings -> Sound quality and effects -> Adapt sound. Then, select the applicable age and “preview” the sound to see if the adjustment is helpful.
    For headphones, go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Hearing enhancements to turn on “hearing aid support” for enhanced sound quality, adjust the balance between the left and right ears Or, switch to mono audio (one ear only).

Enhance Listening — Chapel & Encore Theater

Several devices are available for sound reinforcement in the Encore Theater and the Chapel. They pickup signals wirelessly using a new system, recently installed by the Riderwood AV staff. This system enhances the resident listening experience and includes T-coil compatibility. (The “old” T-Coil system has been replaced by these new devices.)

“on-ear” -good for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Over-the-ear – best for those with more severe hearing loss.

  • AV Neck loops feed sound to hearing aids wirelessly.
  • Aids must be T-Coil capable.

Connecting Devices to Receiver

  • All devices plug into the headphone jack on a receiver which can be worn on a belt or placed in a pocket.
  • Functions are controlled with the receiver: On / off and volume with a slider / button.
  • Receivers use batteries which are recharged by AV staff.

Example Instructions – for Neck Loop / T-Coil

  • Place neck loop over around neck.
  • Plug the neck loop into the earphone jack on the receiver.
  • Turn on the assistive listening device using the
  • ‘ON/OFF, VOLUME CONTROL SWITCH, setting the volume to ‘3’.
  • Switch the hearing aid to the ‘T’ position or t-coil setting.
  • Adjust the volume to a comfortable level.
  • If the sound is weak, first adjust the volume on the assistive listening device before increasing volume on the hearing aid.
  • DON’T FORGET to return devices.

Device Instruction Manuals

Encore Manual (Click to view / download)
Chapel Manual (Click to view / download)

Brochure available in Encore

Brochure available in Encore


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