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DIY alternatives to hearing aids?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but my grandfather is really hard of hearing but doesn't really want hearing aids, and my dad said that today at the doctor he used this contraption that he clipped onto his shirt and it amplified what the doctor was saying and all the sounds in the office. He said it outputted to earbuds, so I told him I'd check here to see if anyone had heard of such a thing, and if it could be bought or built?
post #2 of 13
1 small microphone (preferably omnidirectional), small and lower power high efficiency amplifier, coin cell batteries, 3.5mm output jack?

In theory, that is what it would be, just that building it yourself might make it a little larger than a commercial unit, and I have no idea what you would have to use for parts, but in theory that is all it really is.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
cool, that sounds like that would work. from what my dad tells me, it was about half the size of an iPod. any idea what this would be called so i can google for building guides or more info where to buy these?
post #4 of 13
No idea what is is called, I am just thinking that would be the basic components that would be required for it to operate.
post #5 of 13
For the amplification section, why not try something like the CMOY? Extremely well documented, inexpensive and good. Runs for awhile off batteries, as well. Plug a mic into the input and a decent pair of cans in the output, and he'll be fine. Maybe you could get someone here to donate a pair of iBuds. I think they'd be fine for mostly amplifying human speech. The mids on them aren't too bad.
post #6 of 13
The suitability of a simple amp mic/earbud setup would depend whether his
hearing loss is broadband or limited to a particular frequency band.
If he can hear some frequencies ok, amplifying everything to compensate for
specific losses could result in him finding he needs to set the hearing aid too
loud for comfort just to hear normal speech.
Modern hearing aids can be tuned to suit the affected frequencies only and
give a more natural sound/level.
No doubt His doctor could advise whether this is the case.



.
post #7 of 13
it's really nothing that complicated--just a mic connected to an amp. If you don't want to go through DIY, I know there's a lot of cheapo ones all over the place, probably <$10 each. If you want to do DIY, you can either go for a CMOY design (more flexibility and probably more quality) or you can look for a kit online (a kit for this is pretty common, they're usually marketed as "super ears" or something else like that)
I'm not really sure if the one you saw at the doctor's place was something more complicated though--did it only have a volume control, or did the doctor have to adjust something on it first?
post #8 of 13
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...057&cp=2032060

two posts in one day used up my quota for the next three months so you are on your own from here

BTW-there IS a DIY Kit version available but I can not remeber the source.Head-Fi member Pink Floyd has built one and can give you the details if you bounce a PM his way

Rickmonster Supremus out........................................
post #9 of 13
Not to be a troll but a serious hearing aid is really not something you'd diy.
My father has serious hearing loss on both ears, and so my familiy know a little about how hearing aids work/are in real life.
You could easily make a small mic and a small amp but it would probably not work very well. The human air is very adaptable but any kind of "unnatural" input can be very uncomfortable, you'll know if you've ever actually tried any kind of audio-enhancement toy/gadget/tool.
It's really not just as simple as "turning up the volume".
post #10 of 13
What you are describing sound like the hearing aids of long ago. I remember they used to be about the size of a small transistor radio and people would have them in their shirt pocket or worn on their belt. This goes back to the 70's, before the minituration of everything occured.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by thegeek
Not to be a troll but a serious hearing aid is really not something you'd diy.
My father has serious hearing loss on both ears, and so my familiy know a little about how hearing aids work/are in real life.
You could easily make a small mic and a small amp but it would probably not work very well. The human air is very adaptable but any kind of "unnatural" input can be very uncomfortable, you'll know if you've ever actually tried any kind of audio-enhancement toy/gadget/tool.
It's really not just as simple as "turning up the volume".

way before humans got to this :




there was this :



which while not a perfect solution was a solution for those who formerly could not carry on a simple conversation and so were shut out of human discourse through no fault of their own.In a perfect world we would all have perfect dolutions but since we are what we are,knuckleheads mostly,we do what we can with what we have and that is the engine that has always driven the inventive mind.

does not this gentleman look happy ?



Not up to todays state of the art but damn good enough at the time considering the alternative !

Back to the DIY "Hearing Helper"

I can see a couple of ways to go here for a simple little device that would cost pennies on a dollar and while not perfect may be a stop gap for an elderly gentleman with a distaste for an actual hearing aid,something I can dig considering how long I fought wearing glasses just to see not wanting to accept my own physical defeat to age.

I would go with either a Rat Shack "clone" (see above link) and some KOSS "clip on" headphones or maybe even a belt pack device with a built in omni-mic capsule (also radio shack,around $2) to a simple resistor splitter to a simple Chu Moy Pocket Amp style amp.Add a neck cord or belt clip to the casing and you have a simple device coming in at around $25 that may mean the difference between enjoying a good conversation with freinds or being totally shut out from and human interaction without the frustration of not being able to hear the conversation.Would do no harm and maybe some good.


All out ?

Get a hearing test then armed with the graphs whip up a custom EQ curve specific to the person,build that into the amp case,lock that sucker down and party on !

Could be a fun excercise just to do it and considering the knowledge that may be gained never a waste of time
post #12 of 13
another "possible" that is so cheap you could not buy the part sand build one for less than 3X the price

http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search
post #13 of 13

Try this one, I have built it myself and it works well.

 

http://hearingaid.awardspace.com


Edited by treklam - 4/13/11 at 11:36am
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