Speakers vs Headphones vs DSP for poor hearing

Discussion in 'Microphones, Speakers & Audio Processing' started by K4GPS, Mar 11, 2018.

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  1. K4GPS

    K4GPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have returned to radio after many years of inactivity. Right now my interests are mostly SWL with SDR radios but I do have a R-8500 on the desk and the possibility of me setting up my TS-850SAT again if it even works after many years of hibernation. I have found and confirmed with an Audiologist that my high frequency hearing is very diminished, I am not deaf but tone deaf. I started noticing it with the family saying I have selective hearing but confirmed it when trying to listen to the radio. Trouble picking things out in the noise, callsigns, broadcasters ID's etc. conversations are OK but I guess that's because I "fill in the blanks" which does not work with a ID. I often find myself exhausted from "decoding" conversations and broadcasts vs listening. What can I do to improve this ? Some people speak about the ClearSpeech DSP modules and small amplified speakers. Others say use headphones which is an option at times but I would rather not since that would disconnect me from the family in the next room. Since it's mostly SDR right now people have recommended Bose Companion 2 speakers which are just PC speakers. The Yamaha CM500 headset, others say just any speaker with the MFJ Intellegence Enhancer etc. etc. I am wondering what others are doing so they can continue to enjoy the radio hobby? Since most of my work is SDR I was thinking of a pair of bluetooth bookshelf speakers for the laptop and it's AUX inputs for analog radios and possibly some sort of EQ Software fed by a virtual cable ?
  2. N4AAB

    N4AAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I find headphones work best for me, keeps out extranious sounds and noise.

    I use an older model West Mountain dsp filter. It has a cable that plugs into the headphone jack on my Alinco DXSR-8, and I plug cheap headphones into the filter box. I usually try one-quarter turn and that works for most noise. Last summer I tried and I had to adjust up to a half turn due to noise on 20m.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    If the family needs you to hear them, they can come in and tap you on the shoulder.

    I can't even imagine operating a radio at home without headphones.
  4. WB8NQW

    WB8NQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I prefer a headset with attached mic for making a QSO. My hearing loss is 80db at the higher audio frequencies and I have behind the ear hearing aids. The headset keeps both hands free for logging or taking notes and the mic never changes position no matter how I move my head. The Heil headset does not interfere with the hearing aids. I also use a foot switch for PTT.

  5. KF5LJW

    KF5LJW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Huh? The whole point of listening to the radio is to get away from family and friends so you can take some ME TIME.

    Here is what I do. Went to Costco and and got fitted with Hearing Aids. Why Costco? Because they sell the same Hearing Aids that the ENT and Audiologist at 1/3 the cost. At the ENT office my Hearing Aids would have cost me $5800. At Costco $1700 with life time guarantee and support.

    Anyway I just link my Hearing Aid to the radio via Bluetooth, and use my cell phone as the Equalizer. FWIW I can still hear everything around me just fine, but is attenuated when Bluetooth is engaged for media device. .
  6. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I cut back on headphone use, because headphones were destroying my ears...even listening quietly. Calling with them on also seems to (possibly) cause damage.

    Honestly, I find the Yaesu rigs have far better NR than my Icom 7300. I just think Yaesu does NR much better, when considering rigs around the $1,000 to $1,500 price point. My next rig will probably be a 991A, or used FTDX3000, after I sell off my 7300 next year. Still too much hiss in my Icom's RX when trying to hear DX. Even though it is considered more sensitive than the Yaesu rigs, that hiss ruins it all, at my QTH. The 32-bit NR on Yaesu and whatever Elecraft does to their front end (not NR) seem to make a big difference with general noise. I do find the NB on the 7300 pretty great, though. Doesn't help me with that hiss, however.
  7. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've interviewed a lot of medical top experts in the field of hearing problems . . .

    99% of people who lose their hearing (with age) don't have a problem with the actual VOLUME of the sound . . . it's the fact that they lose their High Frequency response.

    So everything sounds like you have cotton wool in your ears. The low frequencies get through fine . . . but the mid and high frequencies are lost. And it's THESE frequencies that give speech etc it's clarity.

    What Hearing Aids do is just boost the high frequencies that are lacking - they are like tiny Tweeters in your ears !

    So - to the OP - you would be best just connecting the audio output of your Receiver to a Hi-Fi Amplifier that has proper Tone Controls. Then try turning the Treble Control up (probably full!) - this will boost the mid and high frequencies, and you should find that everything becomes clearer. (the curve of a typical Treble control circuit is probably about right to correct the hearing issue - it boosts the frequencies more as you go higher)

    You can use a Loudspeaker on the Amp, or plug in Headphones. (Generally, headphones will make anything clearer, as the room acoustics can't degrade the sound.)

    By the way, you won't damage your hearing by years of Headphone wearing . . . or even going to rock concerts ! No loudspeakers can produce the kind of loud Transients that damage your ears.

    It's the sounds of hitting a hammer on sheet metal, a road hammer, firing a gun, etc etc - these are the transients that causes damage.

    (As a broadcaster, I have had to wear headphones turned up very loud for 4 hours a day for 40 years . . . my hearing is actually still fine !)

    It's a bit like the myth that reading in bed damages your eyesight . . . actually NOTHING damages your eyesight ! (other than looking at the sun)

    Sadly, both our eyesight and hearing just deteriorates all on its own as we get older.

    Roger G3YRO
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    N0NC and AF4RK like this.
  8. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Consider digimodes, instead of SSB, because the computer does the listening and doesn't get tired. Plus you can run with the sound turned down and not annoy the family etc.
  9. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or better still, go on CW and have proper QSOs yourself (rather than your computer talking to another computer)

    Even profoundly deaf people can copy morse !

    Roger G3YRO
  10. UT7UX

    UT7UX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would consider closed over-ear headphones. Almost any pair of good cans will do their job. Why? Because headphones give more detailed sound themselves (compared to a similar priced speaker) plus they isolate from ambient noise and reverberations. This is much easier to concentrate on what you are listening for in headphones. You could also play with equalizer and add some more highs to make sound more airy and clear for you; that tailored sound could fit your needs more than a neutral one. I don’t think you’ll need specific audio-level DSP and don’t believe it could magically improve readability a lot. Just be sure cans are comfortable for you as there is big difference between to listen few dozens of minutes and to wear them all day long.
    Speaker could be better for broadcasting. Broadcasting and somewhat FM/DV local relays give good SNR so it is much easier to hear details. Speaker is convenient; you aren’t limited with cans on your head and their wire (there are plenty of wireless cans, though).

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