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13 Cool New Gadgets to Help With Hearing

Life just got a lot easier with these household devices and apps

  • Courtesy of Lifetone

    Hearing Help

    En español l Some may lament that we’re too tethered to technology. But for people with hearing loss, the explosion of digital devices brings fresh opportunities to connect and gain information. Check out these 12 products. Prices are approximate and subject to change.

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  • Turtle Beach

    HyperSound Clear Speakers

    These speakers send a narrow beam of sound so that only listeners in a targeted zone pick up the audio they transmit. What that means: If you’re the only one in the room with hearing loss, everyone else can listen to the TV at a normal volume while you crank up the speakers as much as you need. You’ll be the only one to hear the boosted sound, and the speakers boast excellent sound clarity and speech intelligibility — no headphones required.

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  • Courtesy of CaptionCall

    CaptionCall Amplified Phone

    This works like a regular phone but uses voice-recognition technology to provide real-time written captions on a large-type touch screen. The phone is part of a free service funded by the federal government that’s similar to closed-captioning on TVs. Phone CaptionCall or go online for a form that needs to be certified by a medical professional that you have a hearing loss. Once you have the form, the company will send you a phone and arrange for installation — all for free. You’ll need a standard phone connection (a landline) and high-speed Internet (DSL or cable, not satellite). Visit captioncall.com or call 877-557-2227 toll-free.

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  • Courtesy of Clarity

    Clarity Amplified Cordless Phone

    This model has all the advantages of a portable phone, including caller ID, with the sound quality of a corded phone. Flashing lights tell you when a call is coming in. Adjust the tone and volume to suit your needs. ($100)

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  • Courtesy of Uniden

    Uniden Big Button Desktop Corded Phone

    If you’re partial to your corded phone, these big buttons are easy to read. Even if the volume is turned off, a light flashes to announce a call. Caller ID is included. And yes, you can mount it on a wall. Features such as answering systems, caller ID and higher amplification cost more. ($25–$45)

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  • Courtesy of ClearCaptions

    ClearCaptions App

    Smartphones and tablets, with their texting and video capabilities, are a boon for those with hearing difficulties. This app, similar to the closed-captioning on your TV, adds free captions to phone calls, whether you’re calling from an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. (Free)

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  • Courtesy of Captionfish

    Captionfish App

    Perfect for film buffs, this app by Zero Gravity Captions is a search engine for captioned movies. Check the locations and schedules of theaters that offer closed-captioned films, or stream captioned movie trailers. iPhone only for now. (Free)

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  • Courtesy of TapTap

    TapTap

    There are many alerting devices on the market. Here’s an app by David Vondracek that does the same thing. If someone’s at the door, it will vibrate or flash. Ditto in case of fire and smoke. iPhone only for now. ($2.99)

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  • Courtesy of Williams Sounds

    Pocketalker PRO Personal Amplifier

    Listening systems help you hear wherever you go by amplifying the speaker’s voice and decreasing background noise. Use them with or without a hearing aid or cochlear implant. This model by Williams Sounds is about the size of a pack of cards; slip it in your pocket. ($119)

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  • Courtesy of Serene Innovations

    Serene Innovations TV SoundBox

    It looks like a small boom box or cooler you’d take to the beach, but it wirelessly amplifies sound from your television. Carry it from room to room, plunk it down next to your sofa or chair and listen to your favorite shows — without everyone getting mad at you for blasting the volume. ($140)

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  • Courtesy of Lifetone

    Lifetone Bedside Fire Alarm & Clock With Super Shaker

    Alerting devices use flashing lights or vibrations to let you know something’s going on. You can attach them to your front door, or hook them up to your fire alarm or smoke detector. Pictured here, for example, is the Lifetone Fire Alarm and Bed Shaker. Plug it in, put it on your night table, and it will detect the sound of smoke or fire alarms in your home. The flashing display also connects to a vibrator installed under your bed that shakes in case you’re a deep sleeper. ($165)

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  • Courtesy of Silent Call

    Silent Call SideKick II Alarm Clock/Strobe Receiver

    This sleek portable unit can be mounted on a wall or placed on a bedside table. A brilliant strobe light will let you know if someone’s at the door or if there’s fire or smoke in your home. Optional bed vibrator can be plugged in. ($255)

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  • Courtesy of Midland

    Alarm Clock Weather Alert Radio

    No need to wonder or worry about what’s happening outside. The Alarm Clock Weather Alert Radio by Midland comes with backup battery power. Connect it to a vibrator or strobe, sold separately), and you get information — via voice, tone or captions on the screen — about weather hazards and emergencies. ($40)

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  • Courtesy of Maxi-Aids Inc.

    Vibrating Alarm Clock and Key Chain

    This key chain by Do More vibrates to remind the hearing-impaired — or anyone who needs reminding — about appointments or taking medication. The only trick: You’ll need to know where your keys are. ($11.95)

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