Can soundbars help to improve the listening experience of the hearing impaired? Yes, there are several soundbar systems on the market that are designed for people with hearing problems.
For people suffering from hearing loss, watching TV programs is a hassle as they have to rely on increased volume or closed captions. Unfortunately, captions are not always available, while increased volume can bother other people in the house or even neighbors.
The good news is that there are now soundbars for people hard of hearing, which help to improve their listening experience.
The best soundbars for the hearing impaired come with several features that enhance voice and dialogue. We have researched and reviewed the best three of such sound systems currently on the market.
Top 3 soundbars for the hearing impaired
- Best dialogue enhancing technology – ZVOX SB380 soundbar
- Best for those on a budget – SAKOBS soundbar with built-in DSP PC speaker
- Best features and controls – ZVOX AccuVoice AV157 Soundbar
What to look for in a soundbar for the hearing impaired
Not all soundbars are ideal for people who are hearing impaired. Therefore, it is vital to know what features and qualities to look for when purchasing one.
Here are some of the top things that make a soundbar perfect for people with hearing problems:
1. Dialogue enhancing technology
One of the top features to look for in a soundbar for the hard of hearing is dialogue enhancing technology.
The technology separates dialogue from other background voices, making the sound clear and easier to hear.
2. Central channel speakers
A central channel speaker is another great feature for improving the listening experience.
It filters the sound, allowing the dialogue to come forward without distractions. Other background sounds are then played through the left and right speakers.
3. External speakers
External speakers allow you to spread the sound throughout the room. There are several types of external speakers, such as rear, ceiling-mounted, forward, and upward-firing speakers.
You can use them to create a surround sound experience and target it to a specific area, making it clear and easier to recognize for the hearing impaired.
A subwoofer is a great feature that improves your listening experience by providing richer sounds.
It does even better for people who are hard of hearing. This is because subwoofers enhance the bass frequencies, making it easy to hear low tones.
Therefore, hard of hearing people can recognize sounds, even when not using hearing aids.
Top 3 best soundbars for the hearing impaired – reviews
There are several soundbars for people hard of hearing, which come with a wide range of features and varying prices.
Below is our pick of the top three sound systems:
1. ZVOX SB380 Aluminum Sound Bar TV Speaker with AccuVoice
Are you looking for a soundbar with the best clear sound dialogue and a stylish, high-quality build? The ZVOX SB380 soundbar is an excellent option.
The ZVOX SB380 is one of the best TV soundbars for the hearing impaired. It comes with the proprietary AccuVoice hearing aid technology, which separates dialogue from soundtracks and background noises then modifies them for easy recognition.
It also comes with a built-in subwoofer and PhaseCue Virtual surround sound, which provides rich, 3D surround sound.
In addition to the subwoofer, the ZVOX SB380 comes with two high-output wide-range speakers powered by a digital amplifier.
The speakers, subwoofer, and amplifier are encased in a sleek, Aluminum casing that is very easy to mount.
However, on the downside, the SB380 lacks Bluetooth connectivity, which means that you cannot connect additional external speakers or Bluetooth hearing aids.
Why we love it!
- It offers crystal clear sound with rich, easy to recognize dialogues
- The built-in subwoofer delivers rich bass and boosts the lower tones
- It is equipped with an output leveling feature to control loud commercials and other sounds
- It offers rich, improved surround sound
- Very easy to install and set up
The ZVOX SB380 is the best soundbar for people with hearing issues who are looking for richer sounds with clear dialogues.
2. SAKOBS 16-Inch Soundbar with Built-in Speakers and Bluetooth
Are you looking for a soundbar with excellent sound quality but at an affordable price range? Then, you should check out the SAKOBS Soundbar for TV.
The SAKOBS 16-Inch Soundbar for TV comes with two powerful full-range speakers using DSP sound technology.
They provide an immersive surround sound with deep, rich bass and clear dialogues. This combination creates an excellent listening experience for people hard of hearing.
The soundbar also comes with a high sensitivity tweeter, which helps to distribute even and accurate vocals when combined with the surround sound.
Another feature you will love is Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to connect external speakers, headphones, or even hearing aids.
The SAKOBs 16-inch TV Soundbar is available at an affordable price. However, it has one major drawback – it doesn’t come with dialogue-enhancing technology. As a result, the sound is not as clear as other models on the market.
Why we love it!
- Decent audio quality for the price
- Immersive 3D surround sound experience that makes for great listening
- Bluetooth technology for improved input or output connections
The SAKOBS 16-inch Soundbar is an excellent choice if you are looking for decent TV speakers for hard of hearing at an affordable price.
3. ZVOX AccuVoice AV157 Dialogue Clarifying Soundbar
Are you looking for the best soundbar with clear sounds for people with hearing loss? Then you should consider the ZVOX AccuVoice AV157 Soundbar.
The ZVOX Dialogue Clarifying Soundbar comes equipped with two of the best hearing aid technologies on the market.
First, it features the AccuVoice sound boost with six levels, which lifts dialogue from soundtracks and backgrounds, making them more clear.
Second, it also comes with XVOX patented SuperVoice technology, which reduces distracting non-vocal background sounds, clarifying the vocals.
The ZVOX AccuVoice 157 also comes with PhaseCue virtual surround sound technology that offers an immersive sound experience. In addition, it also features the ZVOX output leveling feature, which increases low sounds and softens loud sounds.
On the downside, it does not support Bluetooth connections.
Why we love it!
- Patented hearing aid technology that delivers rich and clear dialogue
- An immersive surround sound experience
- It offers several voice enhancement features that make it worth the price tag.
The ZVOX AccuVoice 157 is an excellent choice if you are looking for a soundbar with clear vocals for hard of hearing people.
Is a soundbar good for the hearing impaired?
Soundbars with dialogue enhancement and vocal clarification capabilities can be an excellent solution for people who are hard of hearing.
In general, Soundbars are excellent for improving the audio quality of sound coming from your TV.
They come with several features such as an amplifier, subwoofer, and other sound enhancement features or technologies that offer a great listening experience.
A typical soundbar also delivers a higher volume output compared to a TV. Furthermore, some are designed with an immersive surround sound experience and might even come with extra speakers.
Therefore, soundbar systems can be an excellent solution for people who are hearing impaired.
Do soundbars for the hearing impaired work with any TV?
Soundbars for the hearing impaired are no different from other soundbars, meaning that they are designed to connect easily with most television sets.
Therefore, the compatibility questions all come down to the output ports from the TV and the input ports on the soundbars.
A typical soundbar will have the following input options:
- An HDMI port
- A Digital optical port
- RCA cables
- Bluetooth wireless technology
These are the same output options that are available on most TVs. In addition, older models might come with the extra choice of a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which can connect to your soundbar using the 3.55mm to RCA cable.
When choosing a soundbar, you must ensure that it is compatible with the output options available on your TV. Failure to do so might lead to compatibility issues.
For the best sound quality, digital connections (HDMI, Bluetooth, and optical ports) are excellent options.
Ways to improve the sound from your TV if you’re finding it hard hearing
TVs come with generic speakers that have low-quality sounds. Even the most high-end TVs at full volume will produce substandard sound quality, which most people that are hard of hearing will have an issue recognizing, especially the dialogues.
Luckily, there are several ways to improve the sound on your TV for a better experience. These include:
- Turning on the closed captions options – this can come in handy if you are having a hard time understanding the dialogues
- Using hearing aids – using hearing aids when watching TV can help you get a better sound experience.
- Using wireless earbuds or headphones – wireless earbuds or headphones can have a better sound quality than your TV speakers. They also bring the sound directly to your ears, making it easy to hear.
- By using Bluetooth hearing aids – Bluetooth hearing aids allow you to stream sound from your TV or other devices for a perfect immersive sound experience.
- Using soundbars – there are several soundbars for the hearing impaired, which can significantly improve your TV’s sound quality and dialogue clarity.
Does surround sound help hard of hearing?
Surround is a sound enhancement technology that delivers a theatre-like sound experience.
It uses multiple audio channels (speakers), which are placed so that they surround the listener – front, side, and rear speakers. This helps to improve the sound depth and fidelity.
Surround sound technology can also split different types of sounds and splitting them across various speakers.
For example, the center speaker will usually deliver dialogue, while the rear speakers will be reserved for background noises.
Surround sound can, therefore, to some degree, improve sound quality for people who are hearing impaired. However, on its own, it does not help much. This is because the background noise is still there, which can affect the clarity of the dialogue.
Dialogue enhancing and clarifying technologies are needed to deliver more clear vocals with less distraction from background sounds.
Are you looking for the best soundbars for the hearing impaired? The above are some of the top soundbar systems currently on the market.
They come with several features that deliver richer, clear sounds, which are easy to hear. Some even come with hearing aid technologies that boost and clarify the dialogue while reducing the effect of the background sounds.
If you or your loved one has hearing problems, these soundbars can significantly improve their entertainment experience.