iPod with Hearing Aid
October 20, 2004 11:03 AM   Subscribe

My father is thinking about buying an iPod. One problem though is that he has a hearing aid in one ear (90% hearing loss in one ear due to a childhood ear infection), and he'd like in-ear 'phones, like those that come with the ipod, with independent volume control - so he can turn one ear off, and shunt the stereo > mono when he has the hearing aid in, and turn one way up when he has the hearing aid out. Any ideas?
posted by luriete to Technology (7 answers total)
I'm sure companies that make products for the impaired might have a special product, but if you want to get something quickly, the key words here are Radio Shack.

Here's what you buy:

-1 Headphone volume control extension
-1 headphone stereo splitter. It'll be a 1"plug with a single male headphone jack on one end, and two female jacks, one for each mono channel, on the other.
-2 mono headphone earpieces (think Secret Service)

The splitter goes straight into the walkman, and then a earpiece in each female port. The side with the bad ear, you attach the volume extension to. The walkman volume will control both earpieces while the extension can adjust the single earpiece.

You now have a set of stereo headphones with a variable volume control for one channel. Total cost: likely less than $15.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:22 AM on October 20, 2004

Rumor has it that the US iPod is the good choice to begin with because it offers higher volumes than other music players [possibly because Steve Jobs has some hearing loss]. I think the Radio Shack option is a good one, but if you want something specially made you might want to run your question by one of the assistive technology folks in your area who have probably dealt with this question before.
posted by jessamyn at 11:50 AM on October 20, 2004

Like I've recommended in many headphone threads, try the Etymotic ER-4Ps. Etymotic has expertise in hearing loss devices along with in-canal phones, so it might be a good match. I would just give them a call and talk to them. Their tech people are extremely dedicated and helpful.
posted by anathema at 12:06 PM on October 20, 2004

Actually the Etymotics do not have all the features he is looking for, but you should still call the company and ask about your father's specific circumstances.
posted by anathema at 1:58 PM on October 20, 2004

One option might be to get an iHP, which has L and R balance control.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:16 PM on October 20, 2004

There are a set of in-ear buds, possibly Koss, discussed elsewhere on this site. They are $20, available at Circuit City, and are rumored to be fine for non-audiophiles. they have a foam outer area and actually wedge down inside your ear.
posted by mecran01 at 10:55 AM on October 21, 2004

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