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OT: setting up bluetooth TV audio for 89 year old!

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  • OT: setting up bluetooth TV audio for 89 year old!

    I've been puzzling on this one for a bit and thought I'd pass it by the Brain Trust. My mom is losing her faculties slowly just in the last 2 years. Not Alzheimer's, just slow loss of memory and gets easily confused. But she had heard that her hearing aids might work with a TV somehow so she could watch if she couldn't sleep without disturbing her neighbors. I figured far better was an off the shelf Bluetooth headphone if I could swing a transmitter.

    I have a fairly good headphone candidate. Unlike many, its very small, light and there's only one button. But the puzzle is setting up the transmitter in a way it's easy for her to switch between speakers and bluetooth. Most TVs cut off the speakers when something is plugged into the audio OUT jack, which is not the way to go. Imagine her trying to reach around the back of the TV on the wall every time!

    Even buying a newer TV with bluetooth doesn't solve the problem, She'd never remember how to do this: " Press button on your remote control to select Settings > Display & Sound > Audio Output > Audio Output, and then select the Bluetooth option to listen to the audio through bluetooth devices." So much of our electronics required digging through menu after menu that is just beyond an advanced senior, I gotta simplify!

    So my best plan is to split the audio OUT line to both the bluetooth transmitter and standalone amplified speakers like for a computer. All she would have to do for headphone use is switch off the speaker power and hold the button on the headphone till it says "power on", and then it will automatically pair with the transmitter that is always connected and powered. Any thoughts or better ideas? Thanks.
    Location: Jersey City NJ USA

  • #2
    My only living brother out of 7, is 89. He listens to the TV through his hearing aids. He tried headphones but hated them. He's in another state but I'll try to find out what devise he's using. He also takes phone calls with his hearing aids.

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    • #3
      Strangely enough, modern, flat screen TVs are different. I have one in my bedroom where the internal speakers and analog sound jack are completely independent from the HDMI output. So the external speakers I have fed from the HDMI jack and the internal speakers have completely separate and independent volume controls. A blue tooth transmitter attached to the HDMI jack would also be independent from the internal speaker. I can just turn the two volume controls up or down, to zero even, and get whichever audio I want.

      But the volume control on the TV here in my office turns both the speakers and the HDMI audio level up and down at the same time. If I want to use the external speakers I have here I need to mute the TV's own speakers via the Mute button on the remote control. Or just turn the external speaks down or off and use the TV's own speakers.

      What I am saying is there usually is a way, you just need to work with how each TV operates.

      After a brief web search for something that would work I can see there are many possibilities. The problem with many of them is that they want to use the analog audio outputs from the TV and apparently yours go up and down with the TV's volume control so that won't work.

      Have you tried using the MUTE feature if the TV has one. Are the audio jacks still active when MUTE is activated?

      Another thing you can look for is an Optical audio output. This should provide high quality audio and it probably does not run through the TV's volume control so she could easily turn the TV sound off while listening with the headsets.

      And my first thought was to use a HDMI output which would have both audio and video in digital form. They do make transmitters (blue ray) that accept HDMI as their input. But I don't know if any of the blue ray headsets would pick up the transmissions.

      Perhaps a visit to a computer/TV store would be in order.
      Paul A.
      SE Texas

      And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
      You will find that it has discrete steps.

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      • #4
        Most hearing aids include telecoil capability. eBay has inexpensive pre-amp and audio amplifier boards from China. So I built a telecoil setup for my wife using some Cat5 cable as the coil, driven by the Chinese audio boards. The Cat5 cable wires were connected to form the multi-turn coil and placed in the hung ceiling -- could be placed under a rug or beneath the cushion in a chair or couch. It takes little power to drive the telecoil, only a Watt or 2.

        Setup does need + and - 12v power supplies. I connected it via the TV's headphone jack but it could connect to speaker wires if others want to listen while telecoil provides more volume to the person with hearing aids. Takes a couple hours to set up, cost about $20, where the Cat5 cable was the most expensive item.

        More info is available on the net about setting up a home telecoil.
        Location: Newtown, CT USA

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        • #5
          I have a smart tv and watch programmes late at night using bluetooth headphones to avoid disturbing others as I am partially deaf. I do have to switch the headphones on, but they link automatically, and they have to be switched off after turning the tv off.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by old mart View Post
            I have a smart tv and watch programmes late at night using bluetooth headphones to avoid disturbing others as I am partially deaf. I do have to switch the headphones on, but they link automatically, and they have to be switched off after turning the tv off.
            When I looked at the new TV manual I quoted in the OP it seemed you had to go deep into settings to switch from speaker to bluetooth. here's the full quote:

            Listen to the Audio through Bluetooth Devices

            1. Pair the Bluetooth audio devices using the TV’s Bluetooth function. Refer to the user manual of your audio device such as Bluetooth speaker, sound bar and headphones for detailed connection steps and usage. 2. Press button on your remote control to select Settings > Display & Sound > Audio Output > Audio Output, and then select the Bluetooth option to listen to the audio through bluetooth devices.
            Do some TVs then operate more like a phone that automatically switches when it pairs? What brand is yours?
            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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            • #7
              On our older Sharp that isn't a 'smart TV' I simply bought a bluetooth transmitter off ePay and hooked it up to the optical audio out.

              It's pre the volume control, so to use bluetooth, just turn down the TV volume and turn on the headphones that are paired to it.

              Dunno if that'd work for you, but it was $23 and done.

              t
              rusting in Seattle

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tobias-B View Post
                On our older Sharp that isn't a 'smart TV' I simply bought a bluetooth transmitter off ePay and hooked it up to the optical audio out.

                It's pre the volume control, so to use bluetooth, just turn down the TV volume and turn on the headphones that are paired to it.

                Dunno if that'd work for you, but it was $23 and done.

                t
                Huh, I had assumed that "optical out" was not a usable analog signal. And I'm confused about the lack of volume control, every bluetooth headphone I've ever used that had a volume control was simply talking to the device volume control not controlling it's own amplification. And the headphone I want to use has no volume control. I already have the BT transmitter.
                Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                • #9
                  I have began listening to my TV through my hearing aids for about five or six years now. My first hearing aids were made by Resound, and my new ones are from Phonak. Both companies use a device that plugs into the headphone jack or laser output jack on the tv, and transmit the audio to the hearing aids via bluetooth. Neither system will cut the audio off to the TV's built in speakers, but you can mute the TV and still hear with the aids. I like the system and my wife REALLY LOVES it. The Resound unit is called "Com Pilot". The Phonak unit unit has no separate name. Hope this helps.
                  Last edited by Dave C; 08-16-2022, 01:20 PM.
                  “I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence”

                  Lewis Grizzard

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dave C View Post
                    I have began listening to my TV through my hearing aids about five or six years ago. First hearing aids were made by Resound, and my new ones are from Phonak. Both companies use a device that plugs into the headphone jack or laser output jack on the tv, and transmit the audio to the hearing aids. Both systems would not cut the audio off to the built in speakers, but if you could mute the TV and still hear with the aids. I like the system and my wife REALLY LOVES it.
                    Thanks. I guess it depends on the TV, I thought most cut off the speaker when a plug went into the 1/8 jack. My mom doesn't wear her aids all the time, so it seemed easier to use rechargeable headphones than the aids that need the tiny batteries changed constantly. How do you control the volume to the hearing aids if the TV audio is muted?

                    Personally, if I'm watching tv alone I use BT headphones, I find it a much better experience than speakers plus I don't bother anyone with my late night watching. I've been using cordless headphones for decades, starting with analog tuning Sennheisers that could pick up people's cordless phone conversations!
                    Last edited by gellfex; 08-16-2022, 01:52 PM.
                    Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                    • #11
                      Maybe not for your Mom, but these BT headphones are easy to turn on, have a volume control and a battery charge that last for days before needing to be recharged. I bought them for a computer as to not disturb the rest of the office while I you-tubed And they are not expensive.

                      I had another device that didnt have BT so I bought this inexpensive bluetooth transmitter. It takes an audio signal in via phono jack and broadcasts the sound via BT. Has a jack that fits my guitar, havent tried that yet to see if it works, it should. JR

                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JRouche View Post
                        Maybe not for your Mom, but these BT headphones are easy to turn on, have a volume control and a battery charge that last for days before needing to be recharged. I bought them for a computer as to not disturb the rest of the office while I you-tubed And they are not expensive.
                        Acquiring headphones and transmitter are not the problem, I already have them. It's interfacing with the TV in a simple enough way.
                        Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gellfex View Post
                          Acquiring headphones and transmitter are not the problem, I already have them. It's interfacing with the TV in a simple enough way.
                          Yes, that is why I showed the SwiitechTR-01 bluetooth transmitter. It plugs into the TV audio output jack and pairs with any bluetooth enabled device. JR

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JRouche View Post

                            Yes, that is why I showed the SwiitechTR-01 bluetooth transmitter. It plugs into the TV audio output jack and pairs with any bluetooth enabled device. JR
                            But as I said in the OP, if plugging it into the output disables the internal TV speakers as is the case with most TVs, that doesn't work for her.
                            Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                            • #15
                              As I mentioned earlier, my smart tv will link as soon as the headphones are turned on and also mutes the tv speaker automatically. The only problem with somebody with memory problems is turning on and off the headphones, that must be done manually. The volume is also controlled by the headphones.
                              I have two pairs of headphones to ensure I always have a backup when the batteries need recharging, one set lasts 24 hours and the other 30.
                              I used to plug in a 3.5mm jack with 5 metre cable to the tv, but the jack sockets on tv's are poor quality and are unreliable, both Sony and Toshiba tv earphone jacks failed.
                              Last edited by old mart; 08-16-2022, 04:05 PM.

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