Will open back earphones allow me to hear room conversations?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by goak, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. goak

    goak Casual Listener

    Jan 17, 2012
    I'm looking to upgrade my existing wireless headphones that I use for tv listening. (I use them to cope with hearing loss).

    With my existing earphones I'm in the habit of leaving off one earphone so I can hear conversations in the room. Not ideal I know, but I don't like to be anti-social …

    Question: is it likely that 'open backed' earphones will overcome this problem, or would I be better buying something like the ‘TV Ears’ headphone?
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Apr 28, 2010
    Hi Goak,

    I think the answer is an approximate yes. Some open backs are more open than others, they spill quite a bit of sound into the local environment but this doesn't matter as much if you are watching TV (people will not really notice over the TV speakers).

    Grado are very leaky and offer virtually no isolation, Beyer DT990 open backs do not isolate well, Sennheiser Open backs are a little less leaky but will work for what you want.

    Hope that helps!:)

    Open back headphones -
  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Obsessive Auditor

    Jul 3, 2011
    Charleston South Carolina
    Hearing the room

    I would add my experience, that it also depends on what I want to hear in the room. If I want to be alerted to someone knocking on the door or a phone ringing, then most open headphones will work OK if I'm listening at a moderate volume. If I want to hear a conversation in the room, the words would probably not be intelligible over music played at normal music volume, even with open headphones. But I wouldn't have to take the headphones off - just trim the volume and no problem.

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