Loud Headphones for Hearing Impaired?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Cheeky, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Cheeky

    Cheeky New Member

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    Hi everyone.

    I am really sorry if I am posting this in the wrong place.

    I am wondering if you could help me at all.

    I am looking for some really good quality headphones, I am willing to spend up to £250 ($400 USD?). I would really like them to have great sound quality/base and anything else that would make using them more enjoyable.

    The only snag is that they have to be as loud as possible with very little noise-leakage. I know you may be thinking that it's not very wise buying some extremely loud headphones but you see I am profoundly deaf and I have very bad tinnitus. My hearing loss is not due to loud noise from headphones/music, rather antibiotics. This time last year I had perfect hearing and now I can barely hear anything. I now watch TV or listen to music through headphones and my current ones are no longer up to the job which is why I am on the lookout for some new headphones and some help from experts like you.

    I am worried that if I have loud headphones I would annoy or bother other people around me as there might be noise-leakage. The last thing I would want to do is annoy anyone around me. It's really important that there isn't much noise leaking out.

    I was also wondering about headphones that have a noise cancelling feature, are these the way to go?

    I think I read that headphones which cover the ear completely will be the best for this type of job?

    I would be really grateful for any help and advice.

    Take care and warm regards.

    Rob.

    P.S. Please be careful with your hearing, take it from someone who knows. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I'm only 19 myself.
     
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Hi Rob

    Not the wrong place at all! I'm very sorry to hear this has happened and I hope there is improvement with this condition in your future. I have had this qusetion a few times this year and I will give you the disclaimer first! Please speak to your Doctor before playing loud music into your ears! Even damaged they are a sensitive instrument that can still be made worse.

    With that said, if you have some hearing the best way to utilise this is to get as much isolation as possible to give a darker background to the sound. Your brain will compensate giving better dynamics because it is not having to filter external noise.

    Basically I think that custom sleeves or closed back headphones would help as they offer excellent isolation - remember it is still possible to hurt your ears so you still need to apply a sensible sound pressure level (SPL) which is the thing that causes the damage.

    I think a visit to an Audiologist is a must here - it sounds like there is a possibility of improvement for you in the future, I have heard of listening therapies for tinnitus, when you have a clear picture of the the Don'ts I would be more happy to help fill in the Do's.:)
     
  3. Cheeky

    Cheeky New Member

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    Hi there :)

    Thank you so much for getting back to me, I have asked the audiologist and they didn't know too much about it. They said about IEMs but I find them really uncomfortable to use. I didn't get far with the audiologist, It was NHS based and they had a book of headphones and accessories but they were only cheap ear/headphones.

    I understand what you are saying about the do's and dont's, I'm just in a bit of a pickle as to what to do now. My current headphones are some old Sony MDR-XD200 which I get from Argos a few years ago when I could hear okay, I've found that they have too much bass now and it's hard to make out what people are saying when watching programs.

    I have been looking at a pair of headphones, would I be able to ask for your advice?

    They are Sennheiser HD280pro Closed DJ/Monitor Headphones which are a closed back and I've read that there isn't much audio leakage but I really don't know much about headphones so I wouldn't know if they were a good purchase.

    The main problem for me is clarity, things sound like they are under water for me and I would hate to add lots of bass, bass will be okay for watching movies, it's just too much and everything is a mumble.

    I won't be using hearing aids with the headphones as they whistle terribly and switch to telephone mode because of the magnets in the headphones.

    Thank you for all your kind help so far, I've read some posts about amps for iPods which I wasn't aware of before so I am definitely going to get one, do they have amps for computers too?

    I've looked at Sennheiser PXC 450, Sennheiser HD 380 Pro and Sennheiser HD 280 Pro but I really don't know which ones are better, do you have any advice?

    Thank you for your help so far

    Kind regards

    Rob
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    You need to select a headphone that is all about clarity and precision - closed back will also help with cutting down on the background noise. Closed back headphones tend to emphasise the bottom end but some do focus on detail.

    I still cannot emphasise strongly enough that you can still make your hearing worse by turning it up too loud. If you listen to loud music you will cause temporary damage and this will cause you to turn it up and it will keep getting worse. You have to stick to a moderate volume and over time your brain will adjust.

    There is no cheap way out of this - you require accuracy and detail which is better than volume - at an affordable price these cannot be beaten for clarity and sense of space in a closed back headphone, bass is reproduced in a punchy and accurate way but sits in a natural and realistic way-

    Ultrasone HFI-780 Closed-Back Foldable Headphones (HFI 780)
    £159.95


    I cannot think of another product that would suit you better at a better price but others may have some ideas.
     
  5. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

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    Headphones for hearing impaired

    Yes, I agree with Robin that the HFI-780 would be a great choice. They have quite a forward midrange that makes them good at picking out detail. The instrument separation is superb.

    For some people the HFI-780's accuracy is a little more than they would want (in which case the Beyerdynamic DT770 or Shure SRH-840 would be more suitable), but for your requirements the extra detail sounds like a good thing.

    One small note is that the HFI-780 does not isolate quite as well as the Beyerdynamic DT770. The DT770 is about as good as it gets for sound isolation - in fact they make a special model just for drummers (who need as much isolation as possible) called the DT770M.
     
  6. Cheeky

    Cheeky New Member

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    Thank you for your kind help, I've just had a look and they look great! I saw there were a few other ones by Ultrasone on your website.

    I was just wondering what the difference is if any, I hope I'm not bothering you too much. They were called

    ULTRASONE PRO750 CLOSED-BACK PROFESSIONAL HEADPHONES (PRO 750) [HH00164]

    The HFI-780 look great and the way forward, is there any difference with the HFI-780 and the PRO750? Does the extra money give any added benefit at all? I know this set is at the very top end of my budget and I've just been reading some reviews where some people say the 780 sound better, it's just all so confusing.

    Would I be able to ask for advice on how these would compare with headphones such as Beats by Dre? Those and the apple store ones are the only headphones I have managed to try on. The Beats by Dre were terrible for sound leakage but that's the only other headphones I have tried and can compare with.

    I can't thank you enough for your help.

    Kind regards

    Rob :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  7. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    HFi 780 are much easier to drive than the PRO 750 - The PRO 750 are also, as you would expect from headphones with a higher resistance, less dynamic and also a bit more bassy. In other words they don't fit what you're trying to achieve as closely as the HFi 780. Between the two headphones the difference is more one of taste and the use they would be put to.

    I am not fond of Beats by Dre, they are very expensive for what they are, basically they are just a really bassy noise canceller and sound like a chunkier Goldring NS1000, they just cost more than twice the price. They really don't have a lot to do with Hifi and they certainly have nothing to do with the Studio.

    Also ask whatever you like!;)
     
  8. Cheeky

    Cheeky New Member

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    Thanks Robin :)

    Would the Pro 750 be more for listening to music then whereas the Hfi 780 can be used for all kinds of listening such as TV, Movies and Music?

    It's strange, I like the design of the Pro 750 but I also like what you say about the Hfi 780 and how they perform.

    Thanks again for all of your help, I'm glad I found such a helpful friendly forum :)
     
  9. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Pro 750 is a Studio headphone really and just needs a bit more power (from an amp) to get the best out of it - when underpowered they can seem a little lifeless and dull. They are also a bit more bassy but twinned with a bright amp you will get plenty of clarity and sparkle.
     
  10. Cheeky

    Cheeky New Member

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    Ah I see, Do you recommend any bright amps it could be used for?

    I think I might stick with your first recommendation, I've never dealt with amps so I don't know how much they are.

    Would there be any difference in sound between the two, would the studio ones with an amp be more detailed then the Hfi 780?

    Do the Pro 750 have a lot of sound leakage?

    I quite like the idea of having headphones where you can recognise the instruments when listening to music but I also like the TV and Movie options with the Hfi 780.

    Thanks for your help, I really am sorry if I keep bothering you :)
     
  11. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    The HFi 780 is a very detailed and excellent headphone, the jump to the PRO 750 is very small in improvement. I describe this with the law of diminishing returns, very much like cars you can buy one that does 150mph for £18,000 but if you want to go 200mph you will have to spend £150,000 and if you want to go 230mph you will have to spend £1,000,000. To get a massive improvement over a headphone like the HFi 780 you will need to spend a lot more money and you will find it harder to use (need an amp, better cables etc)

    If you want an amp to go with PRO 750 and get a bright presentation with plenty of detail then these two are worth considering.

    For portable use (and at home)

    iBasso D10 DAC & Headphone Amplifier in Black

    £275.95

    For use only at home

    Graham Slee Solo Intro Headphone Amplifier
    £369.24
     
  12. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

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    Headphones for hearing impaired

    Just a quick update. We've just taken on a brand of headphones called TV Ears that is tailored specifically for those with hearing loss who want to watch TV.

    These headphones designed specifically for watching TV and are not really designed for listening to music.

    See our TV Ears manufacturer page and recent blog entry about TV Ears headphones for those with impaired hearing.
     
  13. patwoltenholme

    patwoltenholme New Member

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    I can't agree more about the HD280. EXCELLENT pair of headphones. Just unbelievable build quality, all parts are user-replaceable and the sound is amazing. Oh and of course the isolation is immense.

    Whatever you do don't even think about active noise cancelling headphones. Just warning you. They all suck.
     
  14. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    "Whatever you do don't even think about active noise cancelling headphones. Just warning you. They all suck."

    Ha Ha! Obviously they do cut out a lot of external noise but it is at the expense of the sound you are listening to - Not exactly ideal. I prefer passive noise attenuation too!:D
     
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