Often the first time you notice that your hearing is getting worse is when you are watching TV. Over time, the TV volume gets louder and louder just so you can hear it.
Sometimes, it gets so loud that it bothers the people you live with. Or, maybe the volume control is so loud that the TV speakers distort the sound or even rattle!
There are devices that can help you enjoy watching your favorite TV shows again! Here are the best TV headphones for elderly seniors that let you hear the TV better without disturbing others around you.
Video Guide: TV Headphones for Seniors & the Elderly
Best Wireless Headphones for TV Listening
These are my top picks for TV headphones for seniors and elderly people who have trouble hearing their TV. You’ll find wireless and wired options here along with earbud and over the ear style. Read my buying guide below to learn the pros and cons of each type.
AudioRange Wireless TV Headphones (ITE-1000)
- No Pairing or Bluetooth Required
- Single & Dual Versions
- 10 Hour Battery Life
- 100 Foot Range
- Works With Nearly Any TV (Connections: Optical, RCA, 3.5 mm Cable)
- 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
- Built-in Mic for Conversation
- Extra Charger Included
The AudioRange ITE-1000 TV Headphones check every box on my list of recommended features plus they even offer a few extra but helpful bells and whistles. They are also a breeze to set-up and use. And, I believe they are the best wireless TV headphones for seniors and the elderly because of this.
How do I know? I was sent a sample pair of these to use for myself so this review is based on my actual experience!
To get started using these wireless TV headphones, you simply plug a transmitter box into your TV. You have multiple options too that should accommodate any TV made in the last 15 years: optical connection, RCA (the red/white plugs) and a 3.5 mm audio cable (headphone jack). Plus it comes with all the cables you might need too.
Once you have connected it to your TV and turned it on, it automatically connects to the headphones without any work (or technical knowledge!) on your part.
The headphones are turned on by using the switch at the bottom. All you really need to do at this point is use the volume dial on the earpiece to adjust the volume control to your preferred level. But there are other functions you might find helpful that will enhance your listening.
First, there is a mic button on the headphones that you can press to hear surrounding conversation. Once, you press it the TV sound is muted and you can talk (if you want to!) to the people around you.
Second, if you have greater hearing loss in one ear than the other, you can adjust the balance and sound profile between the right and left ear. This does require a screwdriver but one comes in the box with the set so you won’t have to hunt one down.
The batteries last about 10 hours and sit in the charging cradle to recharge. You can get these in a single or dual pack. The dual pack is good for couples who can choose their own high volume levels or for people who want to use one pair and have the other set on the charger charging.
The ear tips sit just in the ear canal and there are multiple ear pieces in the box so that you can get a comfortable fit. Audio quality is very good too with no detectable delay between the sound in your ears and the lips on the screen!
So, if you are looking for the ease of use of a simple, plug and play TV headphone option, I do highly recommend these. Many older adults can set these up by themselves. If they need a little help though, once they are set up there is nothing else to do (other than charging the batteries) to use them every day.
Finally, I like the fact that AudioRange specializes in TV listening products and has several different product choices. You can see all their products by using the button below.
Avantree Opera Universal TV Headphones
- No Pairing or Bluetooth Required
- Second Set Can Be Added
- 35 Hour Battery Life
- 164 Foot Range
- Works With Nearly Any TV (Connections: Optical, RCA, 3.5 mm Cable)
- Equalizer Function
- Can Be Used With Other Audio Devices
I’m a big fan of the Avantree Aria Me Bluetooth Headphones and recommend Avantree’s Opera TV headphones as a great choice for senior citizens and elderly folks who are a bit more techy and maybe want a higher quality audio experience. They also feature a plug and play set-up.
To set up and use the Opera Wireless TV Headphones, you plug the transmitter into the TV using the optical, RCA jacks, or 3.5 mm audio cable. All the needed cables are included. Then, the headphones and the transmitter will sync-up automatically.
Once you have it set up and connected, there are several equalizer settings you can use to change the sound profile and enhance your experience. Plus, these headphones are louder than some others right out of the box so they are a good choice for people with more moderate hearing loss. The soft, comfortable ear cups sit over the ear and help block out surrounding sounds.
The batteries last an incredible 35 hours between charges which is one of the longest battery lives on the market. They even charge back fully in an hour and a half. That’s quick! To charge them, just hang them on the transmitter box where the metal connection is at the top.
Or, if you prefer, you can just use the include USB cable to charge them instead. I think the hanging charger makes for a more attractive look but that’s a personal preference.
There is also no delay between the lips moving and the sound with the Opera headphones. You can also get a second pair for someone else to use and be able to set the volume independently.
Finally, you can use the headphones separately with a computer, MP3 player, or other audio device by using the built-in Bluetooth connectivity. But, the Bluetooth syncing is NOT required when using these with the TV.
Avantree offers many high quality audio products with several different TV headphones in their product line. You can see all their products at the button below.
Bellman Maxi Pro TV Listening System
- Can Pair With Bluetooth TVs But Not Required
- 70 Hour Battery Life
- 100 Foot Range
- Works With Most TVs (Connections: RCA Jack & 3.5 mm Cable)
- One Device for Sound Amplification, TV Listening, and Cell Phone Amplification
- Can Be Used With Other Audio Devices
Chances are that if you are having trouble hearing the TV, you are probably struggling hearing from your other devices at home too. That’s why I really like the Bellman Maxi Pro for TV listening and so much more. This one device can help you hear conversation better, hear the TV better, hear your cell phone better, and even seamlessly switch between the devices.
First, as a TV listener, this one is also easy to hook up – just plug the TV listener box into the TV using the RCA jacks or 3.5 mm aux cord both of which are included. Note, though, this does not come with an optical cable but there is an adapter configuration you can use if that’s your only choice. Once connected to the TV and powered on, the transmitter box and the Maxi Pro automatically sync up.
Volume is controlled with the volume buttons on the Maxi Pro itself which looks like a small remote control. The headphones plug into this piece as well and you have your choice of headphones or earphones when you order the system.
So, why do you have a separate piece compared to the other products here? It’s because this one can do so much more than just help you hear the TV better.
Built into the Maxi Pro are microphones that you can use to boost the sound around you whether you are talking with friends or listening to a sermon at church. You can sync it with your cell phone and hear calls louder and clearer than ever before. If the phone rings while you are watching TV, it automatically mutes the TV so you can answer the call (or not!) which you can do right from the Maxi Pro without having to touch the phone.
I’ve written extensively about these features in my full Maxi Pro review. Below, I’ll also post the video I did that demonstrates these features here:
So, if you need – or may need in the future – a more robust personal sound amplification system, you can’t go wrong with the Maxi Pro.
If you need a set of headphones for your TV that can be worn over hearing aids, I like these by Clarity. Users report that these lightweight headphones are comfortable to wear and easy to use. The soft cushioned ear pieces cup the surface of the ear so they may block other sounds like the phone ringing or the doorbell depending on the high volume level.
These work via Bluetooth connection. If your TV is not Bluetooth equipped, this model comes with a transmitter you can plug into the TV using RCA jacks or a headphone cable (all of which are included). You can also sync these headphones with 2 devices at the same time. So, you could also sync them with a cell phone so that calls will ring into the headphones while watching TV. This could prevent missed calls!
The volume is controlled by buttons on the side of the headphones themselves so the volume can easily be adjusted on the fly to meet the needs of the current program. Note that these headphones do not amplify the sound. The buttons are big enough to feel them easily so adjustments can be made without having to remove them or look at the buttons.
The headphones themselves have rechargeable batteries and the unit comes with 2 sets of power cords. One is for the base station and the other is for the headphones. There is no charging dock like the other models. It has to be plugged in so be sure you set aside a place to plug them in each night.
A less costly option that is a little better rated by the buyers at Amazon are these headphones by Similio. They are similar in styling to the TV Ears in that they are in-ear stethoscope headphones.
Set-up for these is easy too. One small note: be sure you know how you are going to connect these before ordering. This is because you have to order an analog or digital model. Analog is for headphone jack or RCA jack connections. Digital is for the Optical audio out connection. But, as long as you order the correct item, this is a plug and play type of item. No syncing or pairing is required.
These headphones are wireless and the signal is transmitted via RF (radio frequency) which gives the best range. The range on these is about 100 feet away from the base. That’s enough of a range for them to work in the next room or in large rooms too.
The headset is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery. To charge the battery, simply place the headset on top of the base and it will go into charging mode. They will last about 7 hours with continual use.
Another cool feature of these headphones is they have a MIC button that allows them to be used as a Personal Sound Amplifier (PSA). This allows the user to use the headphones to amplify conversations in the room and other ambient sounds.
Volume and mute are controlled through the headphones and TV can be enjoyed with others or alone.
Video: What You Need to Know About The Simolio SM-823
You may have seen the TV Ears commercials on late night TV in the past. These TV listening earphones are made specifically for improving TV hearing. They use a proprietary Voice Clarifying Circuitry that adjusts itself to make dialog easier to hear and understand. It also decreases the volume of loud background noise.
TV Ears are probably the best headphones for people with pacemakers. These use infrared (IR) technology which is safer than radio frequency (RF) for pacemakers. There are some drawbacks to IR though. The range is less meaning you can’t go as far away from the TV. You will also need to stay within the line of sight of the transmitter.
These are simple to set-up and use. This model comes with both analog and digital audio cords so you can use a wide range of connections for it. Like most of the others, simply plug it in, charge the headphones, and turn it on. It’s that easy. Volume can be adjusted right on the headphones too.
Reviews are somewhat mixed though. People either seem to love them or hate them. There are multiple complaints about them breaking so I wouldn’t use them with anyone who is rough on their equipment.
So, why did I include them on this list? Because they have been so heavily advertised that people ask about them. I also wanted to include an option for seniors with pacemakers.
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best TV Headphones for Seniors and the Elderly
Use the information below to help you make an educated decision when shopping for TV headphones.
What Type of Headphones Do You Prefer?
One of the main considerations is the type of headphone and ear design you want to wear based on comfort and whether or not you wear hearing aids. Headphones come in three basic wearing styles and ear designs:
Over The Ear Headphones
The first is the over the ear style which has soft cups that completely cover the ears. This style looks like ear muffs and tend to be the most comfortable to wear. But, because they cover your ear completely, you won’t be able to hear what’s going on around you.
On the Ear Headphones
The second are called “on the ear” and these sit just over the ear opening and usually have a soft pad on them. These provide high volume boost but allow enough sounds from around to bleed in so that you can remain aware of your surroundings.
Earbuds/In Ear Headphones
The last style are earbuds or in-ear headphones. Most of the earbuds for TV listening are “stethoscope” style meaning they sit just in the ear canal with a holder that sits below the head – just like the stethoscopes at the doctor’s office.
Because they sit in the ear, these are not hearing aid compatible. As a matter of fact, they won’t fit if you have hearing aids.
How Will You Connect Them to Your TV?
While wireless TV headphones don’t have to be directly connected to your television, there is often a transmitter box that will need to be connected to your TV’s audio outputs. This transmitter will send the signal to your headphones via radio waves, Bluetooth, and sometimes through infrared signals.
Most of the headphones I recommend come with multiple connections to fit a wider range of TVs. The most common connection ports for headphones on the back of your TV are:
RCA Jacks. These are the silver circular connectors that have the red, white, and yellow interiors. The red and the white are used for audio connection. RCA jacks are common on older TVs but are used less with Bluetooth enabled Smart TVs.
Audio Out/Headphone. This connection is a simple, small round hole and usually has a headphone symbol near it. A 3.5 mm audio plug (typical headphone plug) fits here. This is the most common connection for wireless TV headphones for seniors today.
Bluetooth Connectivity. Most newer Smart TVs come with Bluetooth built-in. So, if your TV headphones are also Bluetooth, you may not need any connection the TV at all. Just pair the headphones with the TV.
But, if the headphones use radio wave transmission, you’ll still need to hook up the transmitter box regardless. If your TV does not have built-in Bluetooth, you can buy a separate Bluetooth transmitter to hook up.
>>Old TV? See the Best Wireless Headphones for Older TV’s<<
Wireless Transmission Range
Because these headphones transmit their signal without wires, there is a limit how far they can send this signal. A quick measurement from the TV to the senior or elderly person’s favorite chair will help you determine what distance you need. But, unless you have an abnormally large room, most will work if the distance is less that 100 feet.
Another important criteria for choosing TV headphones for seniors is the battery life and how rechargeable battery is charged.
Think about how much the user will be using them everyday and make sure you buy the headphones that have at least that much time on a single charge. More is better unless you don’t mind charging the batteries daily.
Also, think about how the batteries will be charged. The best solution for most older adults is a charging dock that they can simply set the headphones into once they need charged. This option is a simpler setup compared to having to plug a charging cable into the headphones which could be more difficult for some elderly people. Especially if they have arthritis or early dementia.
Ease of Use
Not every senior or elderly person is comfortable with technology like this, so it’s critical to choose easy to use headphones for this group. If they are afraid of them, they won’t use them.
Look for headphones that have little to no buttons. A volume button may be all they need but they can control the volume with the remote control too. Any buttons should be well-labeled and easy to identify by touch so they can be used while the headphones are being worn.
Finally, sound quality is an important feature to consider. That’s why they older person is using them, right? To hear better!
So, sound quality is important – especially at the higher volumes that TV headphones are used. You want to make sure they don’t play distortion or interference especially at loud volumes.
How TV Headphones and Earbuds Help Seniors
These TV listening devices have a transmitter that plugs into the audio out ports of your TV. Then, it sends the sound through wires or wirelessly to a pair of headphones.
TV headphones are beneficial because you enjoy better sound because they are close to the ears.
When comparing them to other helpful TV listening devices, headphones have some distinct advantages:
Private Listening. The user can listen to the TV at a different volume than others in the room. All they have to do is turn the volume on the headphones up and leave the TV at normal volume – or off altogether.
Portability. These devices are small, lightweight, and easy to take with you. They can even be worn around the house to listen to the TV while doing other tasks. Most will have a range of nearly 100 feet (check each model specifically).
Compatibility. Many of the headphone sets use standard audio connections and will work with most any TV.
Easy to Set Up and Use. These are also “plug and play” meaning all you have to do is plug them in, charge them up, and they are ready to use. There are no settings or pairing needed.
Wireless TV Headphones. Although there are still a few wired models around, most of these types of products are now wireless.
There are some drawbacks to that you should be aware of also:
Hearing Aids. Because these devices fit close to or inside of the ear, they usually cannot be used with hearing aids. The Clarity TV headphones above are the exception to this rule. They claim to be hearing aid compatible.
Because the sound is playing so close to the ear, the wearer may not be able to hear telephones or doorbells while using the device. Phone ringers may need to be turned up.
Summary and Final Recommendations
I hope this guide to the best TV headphones for elderly people and seniors has been helpful. My own grandmother struggled with this and devices like this were a lifesaver at times!
Choose the style that the wearer finds most comfortable and helps them hear the TV better. Take into account hearing aid use and the TV connections available on their TV to make sure your choice is compatible.
Check out my post on phone headsets for seniors too for ideas on making phones easier to hear!
Do you have other recommended was to make the TV easier to hear for seniors and the elderly? Tell me about them in the comments below!