Image Credits: Beats By Dre
I’ve always been a huge fan of music. Over the past 11 years I’ve seen at least 15-20 different shows with plans to add to the list this March when I see The Ataris in Philly. However, I have a 90 db hearing loss which sometimes makes it difficult to really hear the music especially when played at home on devices such as my iPod or my laptop. Frequently, it sounds like a bunch of garbled noise and I have to concentrate very hard on the lyrics to even be able to decipher who the artist is and what song is playing.
I heard about how headphones have changed over the years. I was intrigued by how they might work for a deaf/hearing impaired user. My main issues are high frequency and clarity. I wondered if the headphones could help to correct my issues or if they would merely amplify the sounds. I heard so much about Beats By Dre, and when I saw the high price of them I knew there must be a reason for them being so expensive.
I tried many kinds of headphones over the years. I usually just purchase cheap ones from 5 Below or Target. I preferred ones that could fold for easy storage. I tried a pair of my Dad’s Sony headphones before. They weren’t much better than my cheap 5 Below ones though. They were better for him, but for me as a hearing impaired (legally deaf) individual there was no difference.
A few months ago I reached out to Beats by Dre directly through a contact form on their website. I asked them if they knew anything about whether their product was good for deaf/hoh users but they weren’t really sure. They advised me to try them out in the stores that have them on display. I took their advice and tried all of the different models several times at several different stores.
I noticed that the most popular, cheaper options the Studio ones were significantly better than the cheap headphones I was used to hearing. I could hear sounds I never heard before. I continued trying them out and found that the Beats Studio ones, while a bit more expensive, were significantly better than the Studio ones. Well worth the extra $100 or so they cost. The Executive ones were priced the same, but I thought they had just a slightly better sound quality. One of the biggest differences between the Executive and Studio ones was the way they fit over my ears. With my old headphones I always had to take my hearing aids out prior to using them so that A. I could hear the music better and B. They didn’t make my hearing aids whistle. I was able to fit the Executive ones over my hearing aids comfortably and could still hear the music very clearly. With the Studio ones there was a slight amount of whistling though.
Today I purchased the Executive headphones for approximately $300 from Radio Shack. I know most people probably think I’m insane for spending $300 on a pair of headphones, but these were honestly one of the best purchases I ever made. I would pay $500 for them I think. They were well worth every penny I spent. I’m hearing the music in a completely different, better, more enjoyable way. I can hear every word that is sung. I can hear the bass, the rhythm, the beat in ways I never could before. I listened to Yellowcard’s “23”, a song I’ve heard about a million times t least in the decade that it’s been out and it sounded like a completely different song to me. I almost cried because I was just so completely blown away by the quality. If you’re a hearing impaired music over, then you really NEED these headphones. You will not be sorry.
I only wish that Beats By Dre would develop a hearing aid of the same capabilities now. Being able to hear people in everyday conversation the way I can now hear my music would be amazing.
Do you own a pair of Beats By Dre? If so, what are your thoughts on them? If not, would you consider buying a pair?