Q: I read your columns about ZVOX AccuVoice AV50 noise-canceling headphones and VoiceBud VB20 hearing aids, and I have something of an odd question. Can they work together? I fly from California to Pennsylvania often to see my children and grandchildren, and would like to enjoy some audiobooks during the long flight. Given my age, I do not hear quite as well as I used to, and the droning or the airplane engines tends to make things even worse. Is it counterproductive to use one device to cancel noise while using another device to do the opposite? And will the headphones even fit over the hearing aids?
A: The ZVOX representatives I contacted said that using both at once is not a good pairing. The hearing aids rub against the headphones’ padding and results in constant squealing sounds. Given this, you need to pick one or the other.
The noise-canceling headphones are likely all you will need to make your audiobooks understandable. The noise cancellation will remove much of the exterior noise, while the AccuVoice feature will bring voices forward to make them easier to hear. I consider the AV50 headphones the best you can buy for enjoying in-flight entertainment. They work with either Bluetooth or a wired connection, another plus for flying.
If you think your hearing is not quite what it used to be, you might want to try the hearing aids as part of everyday life. Now that hearing aids are an over-the-counter item, more people are trying them to see if they make a difference. Some users report that while they can get by without the hearing aids, they learned they were missing a lot more sounds than they realized and did not want to go back to life without them.
It is interesting how hearing aids can help those with limited hearing enjoy music more fully. I read an article by Michael Fremer, perhaps the world’s leading authority on high-end audio, about his 89-year-old mother-in-law enjoying music through the help of hearing aids. The article is charming and a good read — it’s available at tinyurl.com/musichearingaids.
This is a good time to be shopping for either the headphones or hearing aids. ZVOX (zvox.com) is running a Black Friday promotion through the end of the year. The AccuVoice AV50 noise-cancelling headphones, regularly $149.99 each, are on sale for $119.99 each or two for $199.99 (if you want to get a second pair for a spouse or friend, for instance). The $299.99 VoiceBud VB20 hearing aids are buy one, get one free, allowing you to outfit both ears for the price of one.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.