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headphones for hearing impaired use... I know you can help me!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by pixiesusan, Mar 9, 2013.
  1. pixiesusan
    I currently have a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones that I plug into my iPhone so I can hear calls.  I'm hearing impaired and they work perfectly.  However, I'd like another set of headphones that I keep in my car (the expensive Bose ones are getting beat up hauling them around). 
    I really don't want to spend the $300. on another pair of Bose.  Are there any other headphones similar to the Bose, with the battery they have in them they are louder then say the Apple ear buds you can buy.  I need that extra amplification that the battery provides.
    If not headphones is there some other way I can do this?
    Thanks so much for any advice you can give me.
  2. pclov3r
    How bad is your hearing issue? Might want to look into a portable amp as well. 
  3. pixiesusan
    Well it's not great to be honest.  The style of headphone that the Bose is allows me to wear hearing aids while I talk.  Which of couse I can't do with earbuds.  So I need that style.  I don't know anything about a portable amp (other then the kind that goes on the phone and sounds terrible).  Right now the Bose with my iPhone works for me, I just hate to spend another $300. on a pair of headphones that tend to get beat up in the car.  I just spent 8k on new hearing aids!
  4. pclov3r
    AFIK the Bose headphones don't amply the sound. They just use that for Active Noise isolation.
    Do you listen to music at all? Or is all you need is someting to hear calls on? 
  5. pixiesusan
    Hmmm I didn't know the Bose didn't amplify, I thought they did.  Maybe any old headphone will work.  I listen to the music that I have on my iPhone all the time, either thru the Bose headphones or in my car when I plug in the iphone and music comes out car speakers.  I have a Bose sound dock at home and use that too.  But mostly I use the headphones for talking on the phone.
  6. obobskivich
    The Bose do have an amplifier in them, it's part of the ANC circuit. But it isn't explicitly a "boost" - they likely do sound louder than the iBuds as a result of both the isolation and the line-load they present to the iPod.

    You really won't replicate the ANC function from another manufacturer - Bose is basically the market-leader for that feature. The QC15 are reportedly better than the QC2 (I've never heard the QC2; heard good things from non-audiophile friends, but that's about it), but just from pictures they look pretty similar in build, and I'm guessing if you're beating the current ones apart, you won't do much better with the QC15.

    I'm not sure exactly what to suggest otherwise though - there are other closed headphones that have ControlTalk for the iPhone of course, but I'm not sure what is specifically "helping" you with this configuration. It may be the ANC and lack of exterior noise, or it may just be that the QC2 are a better overall pair of headphones than the iBuds. The AE2i provide about equivalent passive isolation (they aren't as good sounding overall (for music), and they lack the ANC), and have the ControlTalk cable - I'm not sure if that'd help you or not though, because it's tough to say what exactly is contributing to this being a workable situation for you.

    Have you discussed this with your audiologist perhaps?
  7. pixiesusan
    Oh sadly audiologist's are clueless about these things.  They send you to a website that makes horrible little phone amplifiers to plug into horrible phones with volume control.  Mine (a new audiologist, former one was even less up on things then this one!) said these sorts of phones work for some of her other clients.  But it all depends on not only your hearing loss but where it is, high sounds, low sounds, ability to understand speech.  One of those sorts of phones won't work for me, I don't have a land line and do a lot of phone talking when I'm driving.  And those phone amplifiers are so bad I could never understand anyone.  I do really well with the Bose hearing wise.
    Maybe I'll go to a store and see if I can test out a few headphones and see how they worked.  Best Buy in our town wouldn't let me try them, they told me to buy them and return them if I was unhappy.  Sigh.
    Now I'm wondering if it's the ANC function that makes them sound so good or if some other headphone will work.  I can't use the ibuds because they fit into your ear and that's where my hearing aids are.  So I don't know if they would otherwise be loud enough for me but I need something that goes over the ear.  And that is far enough away from my ear to not cause feedback on the hearing aids.  
    Lots of interesting information here and thanks for helping.  
  8. obobskivich
    I think the AE2 should at least fit you (they're very similar to the QC15 in fit), and they offer decent passive isolation, but I'm unsure if the ANC is actually what's helping you or not (generally ANC only acts on lower frequencies, like those below 1khz). Here's measured isolation figures for the AE2 and QC15, from InnerFidelity:

    No idea if that helps you in figuring out if the AE2 would be a better call for you or not. Basically the QC15 are just knocking out lower-frequency noise beyond what the AE2 will do passively. The benefit here is that the AE2i are less money than the QCs:

    I'm not sure what else to suggest that has both ControlTalk *and* a large fit (there's lots of on-ear headphones that isolate reasonably well, and have ControlTalk (like say, the B&W P5), but I don't know if that'd be suitable for you; they also cost as much as the QCs do).
  9. pixiesusan
    I'l check them out but I really want to test some other headphones now that I can just plug into my iPhone, maybe they will work, who knows.  I originally got the Bose because I was traveling a lot and I'd listen to music or audio books thru my first iPod while flying.  
    I was on the phone with Bose yesterday trying to get a replacement audio cord for my current Bose QC2, which sadly was a fiasco, I've so far received the wrong cord twice.  And they told me yesterday I had to buy the $30. audio cord that has the control talk mic in the cord.  I don't believe I have to do that.... my current cord (the wire is pulling out from the plug in thingy) does NOT have a control talk.  I just plug them into the iphone and talk, the regular mic on the iphone works when headphones are plugged in.  My jacket happens to have a pocket on the chest so when I'm driving I put the phone in the pocket upside down so the iphone mic is pointing up.  Works like a charm.  The Bose people keep telling me that the mic on an iPhone won't work with headphones plugged in.  Wrong.
    I like Bose products but their customer service is sketchy, at least it has been for me.  I finally just went on Amazon to order the cord I need for my headphones, because it's far easier to return things bought at Amazon (even though the cord is coming from Bose directly) and Bose can't seem to find me the correct cord.  Grrrrr...  
    But this week I'm going to see if I can find some store where I can actually "try" some headphones without buying them first.  
  10. obobskivich
    Best Buy should let you try the stuff they have in-store; bizarre that they turned you away. :confused_face_2:

    If you had a Bose Store near you, they'd obviously have the AE2, but not much else. On the replacement cable, you can just order it straight from their website: http://worldwide.bose.com/productsupport/en_us/web/qc2/page.html#QC2_audio_cable . Note that returns to Marketplace items on Amazon are subject to the seller's conditions, not Amazon (but Bose has a very good return policy); kind of bizarre that they won't just sell you the cable you want, but I'm guessing they're probably reading from a script of answers and once you mention iDevice, they have to respond with the iDevice cable. :angry_face:

    Given that you've said you don't really need the iDevice cable (and I know plenty of people who use their phones exactly as you're describing...), that opens more options for headphones! :)

    You might take a look at:

    - Koss R/80 or Ruk50
    - Audio-Technica ATH-M50
    - Creative Aurvana Live!

    There's also probably a good closed-back Ultrasone model in there somewhere, but I'm not very familiar with their closed models (I think HFI-780 or PRO550 are the appropriate suggestions; I've heard neither).

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