Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

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Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stephenbeetleman » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:04 pm

Hi Guys,

I work as an NHS Audiologist and have been interested in detecting for many years now. In my line of work I help hearing impaired people on a day to day basis find ways of coping well with a hearing loss when carrying out day to day activities when wearing hearing aids. My job involves diagnosing Hearing loss and the fitting and repair of hearing aids from Paediatrics right up to the Elderly.


One of the things I have noticed along the way is the lack of information made available on linking hearing aids to everyday technology. Recently I was contacted by a member on here that was looking to find out options available to him when using his hearing aids with a metal detector. As he found the information I gave him helpful I decided to share it with you in the hope that it might help others.


Firstly if I start by giving you a bit of background info. A progressive hearing loss which we all experience to some degree as we get older (Presbyacusis) is a result of a deficit that occurs in two areas. There is hair cell damage in the Cochlea (The Hearing Organ itself) and also damage that occurs in the Neural pathway that leads from the Cochlea to the Brain.
With this type of loss there are two issues, the clarity of sound and the audibility. A hearing aid will help in that it will alter the characteristic of the sound heard and increase its audibility. It cannot however fine tune or offer more resolution to sharpen the sound as this can only be done well in a normal functioning cochlea.



How does this relate to hearing target sounds from your detector?



Generally speaking you will typically get a high frequency sloping hearing loss with Presbyacusis which results in a progressive loss across the frequency range.
With a detector if its multi-tone you will have a hearing impaired person hearing the higher pitch frequencies less intense or not at all depending on how severe the loss is. There is also a chance that the audibility of other sounds is affected too depending on how severe the loss is.

You will also have issues when using machines like for instance the Minelab Etrac or the CTX 3030 in that the little flute like notes that are trying to allow you to discriminate whether to dig or not may not be heard with the same quality or resolution as they should be intended.


What are the Options available to me?



If you wear a traditional BTE or Behind the Ear type NHS aid there are often connectors called Direct Audio Input shoes that can be purchased for your make and model of aid. This allows you to run a wire from the bottom of the aids straight into the 1/4 inch headphone jack of the detector.
The main advantage of these are that you will have the sound of the tones from the detector adjusted to suit the individual's hearing loss so it should be a more true sound than just wearing headphones on their own without a hearing aid.


[attachment=0]photo1334.jpg[/attachment]


Another option would be to use a device called a Portable Neck loop. These are available in a Wired or Bluetooth form. They are a loop device worn around the neck of the user which allows sound from a headphone jack to be streamed to hearing aids by using a special T (Loop Setting) on the hearing aid. Most hearing aids can have this feature added at request to the Audiology Dept/Hearing Aid Dispenser you attend. Although the Bluetooth version would seem the more sleek of these alternatives I'd imagine it may cause a slight time lag between signal detection and transmission of the audio sound so be aware that the wired option could work out the safer option to go for.


[attachment=1]personal neck loop.jpg[/attachment]




Is there anything I could change on the detector to better equip me to hear target audio?




Other changes can be made like modifying the detector's settings to single tone setup so that no potentially good targets are missed. It may mean sacrificing some of the tonal information that the detector is trying to put across to the user but it is better than leaving it to chance whether the tone is heard or not at all.
Another option would be to get your local Audiology Department/Hearing Aid Dispenser to explain your hearing loss in more depth to you so that you also will have the information on what frequencies are causing you particular problems.


Portable Neck loop systems and Direct Audio Input Shoes with Leads are available for most makes and models of NHS and private hearing aid through:


http://www.deafequipment.co.uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


All of the above listed equipment is mainly available for the BTE or Behind the Ear range of hearing aids but given size constraints of the ITE or the In the Ear type aids the additional device options are somewhat more limited. For this reason it is always best to check with your Hearing Aid Dispenser or NHS Audiologist first before purchasing.


A final word ...

There are a few other things to consider when thinking about using hearing aids with a metal detector.


1.) The length of time that you detect and the impact this can have on your hearing.
2.) The effect detecting over long periods can have on Central Processing of sound in the Brain.


As a general rule the volume of the headphones or target tones in the hearing aids should not be at a level that you cannot hear someone talking beside you. We have all been in the situation where we have become entranced in listening to all those beeps in the hope of detecting that "good signal" so whack the volume up. High intensity sounds over a short period or lower level sounds over a longer period can be just as damaging to the hearing thresholds so rest periods between detecting is always recommended where possible.


(See Noise at Work Regulations for more exact dB levels and Time Periods)

http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/regulations.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Not alone can prolonged exposure to noise cause permanent hearing damage if care is not taken but the associated tiredness from long detecting sessions also plays an important role in reduced concentration in the central auditory processing pathways in the Brain.

Your Brain needs to make sense of the sounds it receives when detecting. Over long periods detecting we appear to lose our abilities to process and discern sounds as sharply as we would when listening to them at the start of a session. The physical hearing ability is still present but as our concentration is not at its best, tones will be dismissed instead of interrogated further. This could very well be that elusive Gold Hammered or Croatal Bell you have always had on your wish list so it is certainly something to think about!

If you have someone that suffers from a hearing loss coupled with the lack of concentration after a long session detecting you can well imagine that they will have even more problems in this scenario. With the help of some of the devices listed above though it may help those affected achieve better success in these environments.


Hopefully this has been of some help to those of you that wear hearing aids and detect. [:) :)


Regards
Stephen

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Redcap » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:41 am

Thank you very much for this information. Being a person suffering hearing loss I found it very informative.
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by DAVYBFAST » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:25 am

great post ::g

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Devonboy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:47 am

Thanks for your very informative post, I'm sure it will prove useful for those on the forum who suffer from hearing loss.

I should wear hearing aids all the time, however I only use them when I'm having difficulty hearing a TV programme.

I feel I will be returning to this post for information again in the future.

Thanks Tony.

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Denis s » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:58 am

I also have ear damage due to years of coal mining and I some times use a P.N.L. But after a while I find the sounds confusing and switch back to ear phones
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Blackadder43 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:04 pm

Very informative mate.....well done...

Stephen picked up on one issue which i think is often overlooked by detectorists...
The length of time you are wearing your headphones...
Prolonged use....over an hour.....will result in the start of brain and hearing fatigue....This will impact on your ability to distinguish and process sounds correctly...
The solution is take a break....Remove the headphones for 10 minutes and allow your brain to reset....
I have had sessions in the early days where i have been detecting for hours and hours....looking back at those sessions i do recall something happening...
After prolonged use my brain would go into "only listen for the signal that blows your ears off"
My brain and hearing was so fatigued that i was consistently ignoring/not hearing those little squeaks that could easily be the best find of the day....
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by beaubrummell » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:15 pm

Food for thought indeed. I keep my earphones on for a straight 5 or 6 hours normally. I'll have to rethink that.
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Dash (Paul) » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:51 pm

One of my reasons for getting a CTX3030 except for being an ecellent detector is the screen, because I suffer with my hearing and can't hear certain tones but I can see the screen well enough, I have the threshold up so I can hear it then when going over areas I can check the results with the screen after the threshold cuts out, I don't use the aids every day only for meetings and anywere where their is background noise also in the car, usefull bit is though I can take them out when the Mrs is giving me BGH in the ears lol, as for having an addistion amp input for my detector luckily not at that stage yet.
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by sweepstick47 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:19 pm

Cheers Stephen, That is a superb post and a serious topic. I hope it makes members rethink detector volume]levels (especially those who use 'un-named' detectors which 'squawk' their response - they know who they are!!
Thanks again, brilliant info given. Just one example of the excellent value of this great Forum. ::g
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Devonboy » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:22 pm

Does anyone know of a detector that will give somewhere near the same sound reproduction without headphones as we all get while wearing them?

Perhaps I will think about using my AT Pro without headphones sometimes as I should then be able to detect for longer periods without causing any more ear damage or brain fatigue, particularly if I wear my hearing aids.

Some good advice coming out of this thread.

Tony

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Maximuswarks » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:26 pm

What a great write up well done Stephen ::g bear in mind most of us will suffer some loss of hearing as we get older ;;z My wife says i have a good ear and a deaf one , the good one i use when i want something , the deaf one when she wants something =))
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stephenbeetleman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:10 am

Hi Guys,

Thanks for your kind words. :)

It has been on my "to do" list for a while writing an article like this as there was no info I could find on wearing aids and using them with detectors.

Devonboy the main problem I can forsee with using any detector's speaker instead of headphones to lessen the hearing fatigue issue is that you will come up against even more difficulties in hearing the target audio over the ambient background noise. When we wear headphones as they improve the signal to noise ratio i.e. good target audio volume louder than ambient noise it makes it easier for us to discern. Yes if we wear headphones for excessive periods we can suffer from noise induced loss over time but with use in moderation they definitely still give a detectorist the definite edge over just using the detector's speaker. Even with advancements in detector speaker quality there is also the problem of the higher frequencies dissipating into the environment as lower frequency Iron grunts mask them out. Lower frequency sounds have a longer wavelength than Higher frequency sounds so therefore they will seem easier heard by the human ear than the little flute like notes of the good targets.

If you have someone with a high frequency hearing loss, their problems will be further compounded by not using headphones. The reason for this is that with Outer Hair Cell damage to the Cochlea there will be a reduced ability to "fine tune" those important target sounds from the external environment on top of everything else mentioned. ::g [:)


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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by Denis s » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:06 am

stephenbeetleman wrote:Hi Guys,

Thanks for your kind words. :)

It has been on my "to do" list for a while writing an article like this as there was no info I could find on wearing aids and using them with detectors.

Devonboy the main problem I can forsee with using any detector's speaker instead of headphones to lessen the hearing fatigue issue is that you will come up against even more difficulties in hearing the target audio over the ambient background noise. When we wear headphones as they improve the signal to noise ratio i.e. good target audio volume louder than ambient noise it makes it easier for us to discern. Yes if we wear headphones for excessive periods we can suffer from noise induced loss over time but with use in moderation they definitely still give a detectorist the definite edge over just using the detector's speaker. Even with advancements in detector speaker quality there is also the problem of the higher frequencies dissipating into the environment as lower frequency Iron grunts mask them out. Lower frequency sounds have a longer wavelength than Higher frequency sounds so therefore they will seem easier heard by the human ear than the little flute like notes of the good targets.

If you have someone with a high frequency hearing loss, their problems will be further compounded by not using headphones. The reason for this is that with Outer Hair Cell damage to the Cochlea there will be a reduced ability to "fine tune" those important target sounds from the external environment on top of everything else mentioned. ::g [:)


Cheers
Stephen
Thank for the information Steve, it was very enlightening,when I was digonosed with hearing damage they didn't give me any where near as much info
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stephenbeetleman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:02 am

No problem Denis,

Glad it has been of help. When i issue a hearing aid i often make a habit of asking the person what their hobbies are so i can try to troubleshoot the problematic situations that they might have with their hearing loss. If the person wearing the aids gets a better background as to what they are doing for them i think they gain greater benefit from the fitting longterm. ::g

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by gwernogle » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:53 pm

Brilliant!
I am profoundly deaf, and can only use an aid in one ear. B***y hard to get the headphones so that I haven't got feedback as well. Don't want to have the speaker blasting away, so I am grateful for the screen on the F5, and really use that as much as the tones. Maybe that is why I don't find a lot? Seriously though, I find that the combination of headphone and screen works well for me.
Thanks again for a great post.
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by lancastrian » Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:36 pm

thanks for post ::g

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by jesterjim » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:30 pm

Brilliant post Stephen......now I know why I couldn't get on with the E-trac...I hadn't been diagnosed with hearing loss then......now I wear an aid in both ears.....can't seem to find the 'shoe's' to fit my aids though.....mine are the Siemens Impact pro M....

Jim. ::g :) :)

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stephenbeetleman » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:48 pm

Hi Jim,

I think these are the right direct audio input shoe for your hearing aids. You will need two of them if wearing binaural hearing aids then the wires to connect from them to the headphone jack of the detector. Depending on what end is on the leads you may also need the 3.5mm to 1/4 inch jack adapter.

http://www.deafequipment.co.uk/product/ ... -10054830-" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by John » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:16 pm

Great informative and helpful post!

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by jesterjim » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:34 pm

Thanks Stephen....my loss is higher frequencies....playing with loud drummers is what I blame it on!.....poor bass player always ends up standing near him.... =)) =)) =))

Jim. ::g

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by hotmill » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:14 pm

Fair play to you, great post.
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by lancastrian » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:53 am

i am pro found deaf i got 2 new hook hearing aids i never see before i think from america call spak.... sorry cant spell i dont know which one shoes for it

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stanslad » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:13 pm

What a great post,
have gone through it with Dad who's almost deaf because off over 20 years drilling & blasting at quarry's many years ago & done adjustments to detector tones etc,
Many thanks Stephen.
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by David Hun » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:18 pm

What a great post for all the Old Farts ! :))
Whether we have trouble yet of not, this is really valuable advice, I hope all the retail outlets pick it up and keep a copy at hand!

Well done Mate!

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stephenbeetleman » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:47 pm

Thank you for your kind words folks, it is much appreciated. rl; :)

Lancastrian I could maybe help you with finding out what kind of direct audio input shoe you need if you are able to PM me the make and model of your aid? ::g

If the hearing aid is a behind the ear model most of them have a loop system installed so it would just be a case of buying the personal neckloop which is not specific to a particular hearing aid so swappable between different makes and models. This might be your best bet. :)

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by mcbain » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:09 pm

Very interesting topic, well done ::g
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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by lancastrian » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:53 am

I will have look in s/number, made etc ok I get them free from nhs or goverment cos I am profound deaf since birth and get hearing aids from deaf school I think britain made now diffs from nhs

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by lancastrian » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:57 am

Hearing aids can damage by sweat when headphone cover I think shoes good idea hearing aids need fresh air but poss wind make whistle nosie ?

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by lancastrian » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:48 am

my pair behide ears hearing aids is ( mala 130 power starkey ) 13-519651 ce 0086 colour cream

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Re: Advice on using Hearing Aids with Metal Detectors

Post by stephenbeetleman » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:30 pm

Hi Lancastrian,

There are alot of different models of hearing aid on the NHS most of them behind the ear. I am not sure on whether the type you have, the Starkey Maia 130 has a loop facility or a direct audio input shoe connection. I am off work on holidays til next Monday but will check then when I get back. ::g

Even if it doesn't have those options the NHS hospital contracts change all the time so chances are they would be able to change you to a make or model that does have these features. :)

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