How to listen to your iPod…

If you have a hearing loss and you want to listen to music on your iPod or similar device, you have a couple of options.  But each has advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Take off your hearing instruments and listen via headphones.  This only works if you have a fairly flat hearing loss.  But if you have a different amounts of hearing loss at different frequencies, then the music will sound weird.  For example,if you have a high frequency hearing loss, then the music will sound like too much bass.  Also, the hearing instrument has a maximum power output that has been set by your audiologist.  When you take off your hearing aids and listen only via headphones, you might damage your hearing.  So I do NOT recommend listening via headphones.
  2. Use a DAI Cable and Proprietary Audio Shoes.  This option works with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids with direct audio input (DAI) capability.  The advantages of this connection are that the music will be shaped to meet your hearing loss configuration.  Moreover, the loudest sounds cannot exceed the maximum power output of the hearing aid as set by your audiologist.  Therefore, this is a safer option.  Lastly, these cables preserve the stereo separation, so you will enjoy the left and right panning in the music.  The disadvantage is of course that you have a cable.
  3. Use a Streaming Device. These kind of devices are made by several hearing aid companies.  This link here shows the one made by Phonak called an iCom.  These devices are cool in that they wirelessly send a stereo signal to all kinds of hearing aid styles, not just BTE’s.  Here is a picture of an iCom.
  4. Use an FM System.  This is the option that I use.  The reason is that I cannot use any of the previous options since I wear both hearing aid and a cochlear implant.  I cannot get one cable that works with both devices simultaneously.  I also cannot use an iCom as that only works with the hearing aid.  So I plug in my iPod into my FM system and this transmits the signal wirelessly to my receivers.  It works with both my cochlear implant and hearing aid.  It is also a very safe option.  The only disadvantage is that the FM signal transmits in mono, not stereo, but that’s not too big a deal.  Here is a link to some FM options.  And below is a picture of the FM system that I use:
This is the transmitter called a SmartLink+
 This is the Naida UP hearing aid with the FM receiver (green circle) added on the bottom:
This is the Freedom CI again with an FM receiver (green circle) added on the bottom:
Lastly, there are some cool things to do with your iPod to make it work better for you.  See this link on iPod accessibility and hearing.

7 thoughts on “How to listen to your iPod…

  1. Dear Sir,

    I hope you don’t mind me contacting you like this. I am a prospective Masters of Clinical Audiology student for Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. I have auditory neuropathy and have a cochlear implant in my right ear and a hearing aid in my left. I believe my hearing levels fall around the 70dB mark for all frequencies.

    I have an issue regarding my clinical competencies which is why I am contacting you (I do hope you don’t mind this, but I was getting quite desperate). I need to biologically calibrate for bone conduction and I believe my hearing loss falls outside that where the bone conductor sends the stimulus to the cochleae and instead vibrates the bone. I wondered if you might be able to suggest a method to overcome this?

    If you could e-mail me, then please contact me on jcor4526(at) Thanks!

    Kind regards,


    • Hi Jane. I am not sure if the email went through so I will answer it here as well:

      I was never required to perform biological bone conduction calibration. I just ensured my equipment was professionally calibrated.

      I would always watch and see if I started getting any weird results. That is if I consistently got air bone gaps where none should be present or if bone started to exceed air conduction (an

      I also did a quick google search and found this excellent reference: audiometry&f=false

      Basically, the author is stating that the ONLY patients to perform biological bone conduction calibration are reliable patients with sensorineural losses that do not exceed the limits for bone conduction. The reason being is that some normal hearing people have thresholds better than -10 db HL. So if they both test at -10 you might think everything is OK. But in fact, they might be hearing even better than -10 on the dial.

      So they only correct way to do biological calibration is to use reliable mild of moderate sensorineural hearing loss patients. Your normal hearing classmates should NOT be doing biological calibrations either!

      I do hope that no one is throwing up unnecessary barriers here. I often heard concerns about my ability to perform speech audiometry. But here was another crock of BS nonsense. All these normal hearing audiologists were doing 25 word lists via monitored live voice. This has no validity! The proper way to perform speech audiometry is
      1. 50 word list (not 25)
      2. recorded material (not live voice)
      3. Responses should be written, or visual (eg picture point, click on computer screen).

      So similar to what you are experiencing, the way many audiologist do speech audiometry is incorrect anyways.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Pingback: Research on Music Perception with a Cochlear Implant. | Deafened But Not Silent.

  3. Pingback: Things to be Thankful for… | Deafened But Not Silent.

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