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Squealing hearing aids - in public

Roving Reporter Tlshell at concentric.net
Tue Oct 7 00:38:54 EST 1997


On Mon, 6 Oct 1997, Steve Hoffman wrote:
> Hearing-Aid Squeal Grows in Volume as Concert Woe
>
> Melinda Bargreen
> Seattle Times 9/7/97

<snip>

> What's the answer? Most major concert halls and theaters in the
>Seattle area have hearing-enhancement systems, where a headset
>that picks up infrared sound may be borrowed for the duration of
>the performance. I've tried them in the Opera House, and they
>deliver wonderful, immediate sound that you can turn up or down
>as you like. Poulson says they're in widespread use in the big
>theaters, such as the 5th Avenue, but less so at unamplified
>concerts (i.e., classical music).
>
> "On a busy night," he says, "I might have two requests for our
>hearing-enhancement equipment (at Meany)."
>
> No one is quite sure why the headsets aren't more popular at
>concerts.

Hah! A *big* reason I'm sure is the poor design. As one who has 
tried to use the Sennhauser, for example, I can tell you that having 
them dangling off your ears is not very comfortable, and I'm sure 
I am not the only one who has to use hands to keep them from falling 
off. They should be designed to rest on the back of the neck/shoulders 
with the only part in front being the IR receiver. The earpieces need 
to be redesigned too, because they are too small, most of the sound 
escapes into the atmosphere where it doesn't do the listener any good.
Another design problem is there is no indicator to show visually if the
battery is properly charged or not, so you are at the mercy of the
theatre/concert hall as to whether or not they are ready to last the 
time required. I know for myself I do *NOT* trust hearies to keep track 
of such details because I will assume, for my own safety, that either 
they are clueless, or that they won't give a damn. 
**********************************************************
* Therese Shellabarger      -     tlshell at concentric.net *
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