Whether you are 22 or 82, your hearing is one of a kind. We all hear different frequencies, better or worse, depending on our genetics, sound exposure, and age. That means you'll hear something different than I do when you put on a pair of headphones.
For years, headphone makers haven't worried too much about the differences in our hearing and have created products that work for most people. That left people with unique hearing configurations or hearing loss without good options and the rest with "just ok" audio.
Thankfully, technological advances and innovative new companies like Mimi Hearing are making way for a new generation of headphones that customize audio to match your hearing needs.
How personalized audio works for hard-of-hearing listeners.
Before we talk about products and brands, let's take a look at how this works. I'll use my own hearing loss for illustration. I have a genetic cookie-bite hearing loss, so I need more volume in mid-frequencies. Here are my results from our 5-minute hearing test.
If I put on a pair of un-customized headphones, I'll need to crank up the volume to get those middle frequencies to a normal level. The problem is that the low and high frequencies are then too loud. I'm stuck.
Headphones with custom audio solve this issue by correcting the mid-frequency without boosting my lows and highs. Some custom headphones do this by administering a short hearing test, while others give me access to a freeform equalizer (more on that below).
Even if you don't have significant hearing loss, you still have one-of-one hearing, and you'll almost certainly like the sound better when it's matched to your specific needs.
Enter headphones with personalized audio, hearing tests, and custom equalizers.
Now that you understand the magic (or necessity) behind personalized headphone sound, let's talk about products.
As with any headphone purchase, you'll probably consider a few factors when deciding on the perfect audio companion:
- Personalized Sound: Naturally, for this guide, we're taking a close look at personalized sound, onboard hearing tests, and EQ controls.
- Power and Charging: Battery power is an essential factor to consider if you spend time commuting, traveling or away from home.
- Comfort: You may prefer over-ear or earbud-style devices. Some hearing aid wearers prefer large over-ear devices that allow them to keep their hearing aids on.
- Noise Canceling and Ambient Sound: Noise-canceling headphones are safer for your ears in background noise (prevent cranking the volume up), but it's nice to have optional ambient sounds for safety on-the-go.
- Phone call quality: While most of us rely on headphones to hear we also rely on them to send clear audio to the person on the other end of a phone call or Zoom call. When it comes to mic quality, not all devices are created equal.
These are the 5 best headphones for anyone with hearing loss. 👇
If you have hearing loss and are sick of muddy lyrics or frustrating phone calls, one of the headphones on this list might be just the ticket.
Of course, there are other options out there. Just ensure the devices you are looking for have an adjustable EQ or a built-in hearing test.
Oh... and get ready to hear the actual lyrics for all the songs you've been singing wrong.