by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
You might not think you have a hearing loss, but if your wife (or husband, or kids) complain that you always turn the TV volume up too loud, you almost certainly have a significant hearing loss. If this is the case, the new TV SoundBox is for you.
If you are frustrated because you hear your TV, but notice you are now missing a lot of what is said while sitting in your favorite chair, again, the TV SoundBox is for you.
The TV SoundBox not only will help you hear and understand your TV again, it will also bring peace to you family—no spouse always yelling at you to turn the volume down any more. Think what that could do for your marriage!
The TV SoundBox is basically a remote wireless speaker that you keep close to you so you can hear your TV without straining to hear, and without cranking the volume up so loud.
The reason it works so well is because it retains more of the high-frequency sounds that give speech much of its intelligibility. You see, high-frequency sounds drop out of the air (so to speak) with increasing distance. Since the high-frequency sounds carry much of the intelligibility of speech, when these high-frequency sounds don’t reach your ears, you have difficulty understanding what you hear.
The secret to the TV SoundBox is having it reasonably close to your ears. (My wife puts hers on the back of the couch behind her. She could just as easily put it on the end table beside the couch.) This means the high-frequency sounds reach your ears instead of fading away. As a result, you now can understand your TV much better and no longer need to have the sound cranked up so loud.
The TV SoundBox works as either a stand alone unit if you don’t have hearing aids, or you can use it while wearing your hearing aids. Thus, it makes a wonderful first assistive device if you are slowly losing your high-frequency hearing due to increasing age and don’t feel you are quite ready for hearing aids yet.
The TV SoundBox consists of two parts—a wireless base transmitter/recharging unit and a remote receiver/loudspeaker.
Recharging the TV SoundBox is simple—just place it back on its base. In a few hours, it will be charged up, ready to go. Typically, you can expect to get 8 hours of continuous use out of one charge—so it’s good for listening most of the day.
The TV SoundBox is not limited only for listening to your TV. You can hook it up to any audio device—your stereo, your radio, your iPod, your MP3 player; even your computer. All that is needed is that the audio device has an audio output jack. Typically this would be the standard 1/8″ stereo headphone jack on portable devices, or the red and white RCA audio output jacks on your stereo or TV. I’ve played my iPod through it with great results.
A really ingenious feature of the TV SoundBox is that the patch cord supplied has an 1/8″ stereo plug at one end and RCA plugs at the other. Thus, if your TV has RCA audio output jacks, you plug that end into your TV and the other end into the base of your TV SoundBox.
However, if you want to hear from an audio device that only has a 1/8″ audio output jack—then you reverse the patch cord and plug the 1/8″ plug into your audio device and the other end into the base of the TV SoundBox. You can do this because the base of the TV SoundBox has both an 1/8″ audio jack and RCA jacks wired as audio inputs.
You use this patch cord one way or the other as needed. For example, we plug the audio patch cord in one way on our main TV which has RCA audio output jacks, and the other way on our small portable TV which only has an earphone jack. This eliminates having to have two different patch cords. With this arrangement, one patch cord works for both situations.
You can use the TV SoundBox wherever you are since it is wireless. If you get up and go to the kitchen or dining room or outside on the patio, just take the TV SoundBox with you and continue to hear beautiful clear sound. The range is up to 100 feet (line of sight), but I found that realistically in our house with it’s walls and other obstructions, about 50 feet was the limit of reliable reception.
Does the TV SoundBox really work. Just ask my wife. She loves hers! Because she has a moderate to moderately-severe hearing loss, she sits it on the back of the sofa when she listens to the TV. She explains, “I like the fact that I can hear far more clearly using the TV SoundBox while having the TV volume turned down low, than I can by just listening to the TV with the volume turned up much louder”.
The TV SoundBox has great volume—loud enough to awaken the dead (or zombies at least) at full volume (especially if the TV has fixed audio outputs). However, you’ll not need that much volume if you have it close beside you. If you keep the TV volume low, then you’ll need to turn the volume up more on the TV SoundBox. That’s why it has so much reserve volume—not so you can crank up the sound like you needed to do on the TV.
If you’d rather listen to something privately, instead of listening via the speakers, just plug in your favorite headphones or ear buds. That’s my preferred way of listening with it. This works well with my almost-profound hearing loss. Otherwise, I’d have to crank the volume way up so my ears could hear/understand it.
Another cool feature of the TV SoundBox is that you can “pair” up to 50 SoundBox receivers to the base transmitter. That way if several family members need a unit, they can all listen to the TV together—with each one setting the volume on their TV SoundBox to match their hearing. Talk about a happy household!
I know you’re now asking, “Just how much is the TV SoundBox going to set me back?” The good news is that although the regular price of the TV SoundBox is $149.95, you can get the TV SoundBox for only $123.95 from the Center’s website.