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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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+
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.