I’m sure we’ve all seen old movies or cartoons where Grandma or Grandpa is playing the TV at extreme volumes, resulting in headaches, arguments, fights, and eventual overall chaos. The unfortunate truth is that the older we get, the more our hearing declines. It’s a simple fact of life, but it doesn’t need to derail our lives or the lives of those around us. If you’re finding yourself increasingly straining to hear the TV or getting yelled at by family to turn the volume down, then TV headphones might be a perfect solution for you.
Just as their name implies, TV headphones are – you guessed it – headphones specifically designed for watching TV. Certain companies like Avantree have dedicated themselves to creating quality audio solutions, particularly for seniors, and their main product lines involve both wired and wireless TV headphones sets.
Wired TV headphones are pretty straightforward and not too different from headphones you’d use with your PC. Typically, they just have a longer (and sometimes coiled) cord so that you can enjoy watching from the comfort of your couch. Wires and cords can create a tripping hazard and aren’t the most convenient, though, so wireless connections tend to be preferable among most audiences.
Wireless TV headphones typically connect to your TV via Bluetooth transmitters. Some TVs nowadays are “smart” and have built-in Bluetooth capabilities, but Bluetooth transmitters allow you to connect to virtually any and every TV on the market, regardless of whether or not it’s “smart” – and even if your TV has built-in Bluetooth, there are multiple advantages to connecting via a transmitter.
The biggest and most obvious advantage of TV headphones is that they allow you to listen to your favorite shows and movies at your own volume without disturbing those around you. In addition to this, though, TV headphones can have a multitude of useful highlights, such as low latency modes that reduce audio lag, different equalizer modes that allow you to hear certain frequencies better, and more. Many transmitters also have pass-through capabilities, which allows you to simultaneously stream audio through both your headphones (connected via the Bluetooth transmitter) and an external soundbar or stereo AVR, so others in the household can listen alongside you through the speakers while you listen at your own volume through the headphones.
TV headphones also have longer ranges than a TV’s built-in Bluetooth range, and after initial setup, you won’t have to pair and re-pair every time you want to use them again.
Everyone has different tastes and preferences, and luckily, there are many different kinds of TV headphones out there to suit each person’s inclinations. As mentioned before, there are wired and wireless headphones, but there are also over-ear headphones, in-ear earbuds, and even open-ear earphones, as well as sets of headphones + transmitters or just headphones, or just transmitters. Each has its own unique set of strengths, so whether you value comfort, sound quality, convenience, or whatever else, you should be able to find a perfect fit for what you’re looking for.
That being said, since there are so many different kinds available, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to begin looking. To help you out with your search, we’ve compiled a list that will hopefully give you a good idea of what’s on the market.
At $159.99, the Opera offers solid functionality at a more affordable price. It’s a wireless TV headphone set that comes with over-ear headphones and a sleek 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter/charging base. It features pass-through capabilities (so you can listen simultaneously with your headphones and an external speaker), aptX low latency (so you can listen without any delays), and balanced/clear dialogue modes (so you’ll never miss a word).
The RS 195 is incredibly powerful, but also on the pricier side at $499.95. Similar to the Opera, it’s also a wireless TV headphone set with over-ear headphones and a 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter/charging base. Its intelligent controls on both the headphones and the base make it easy to use, and it offers 7 different hearing profiles as well as left / right balance control for ultimate sound customization.
The L600 acts as a sort of halfway point between the Opera and RS 195 with a respectable $396 price point. Just like the other two, it’s a wireless set of over-ear headphones and a 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter/charging base. It features high-quality cinematic sound and 4 different sound modes, and its 17-hour battery life ensures a seamless listening experience.
The RS 5200 is both lighter and cheaper than its RS 195 counterpart, coming in at $279.42. Instead of over-ear headphones, this wireless set includes in-ear earbuds as well as the 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter/charging base. It lets you choose between 3 different hearing profiles and offers left / right balance control, and you can customize the fit with various provided earbud tips to maximize comfort.
The Duet is $239.99, and is a little different from the others, because instead of just one pair of headphones, you get 2 – and the 2-in-1 Bluetooth transmitter/charging base. You can listen with a partner and enjoy individual volume control and balanced/clear dialogue modes. It also has the same pass-through feature as the Opera, so you can listen with both the headphones and an external speaker simultaneously. You can even connect as many as up to 100 headphones to the single transmitter and all listen in sync!
Regardless of what you end up buying, we hope this guide was helpful in starting you on your TV headphones journey. Happy watching!