Friday, November 14, 2008

A simple solution.

I have no measurable hearing in my left ear.* Which means that if you are sitting on my left side at dinner, it's unlikely I'll hear anything you say. It it's a crowded restaurant it's a sure bet. I' ve adapted to this and it really has no significant impact on my day to day life. (Well, except the crowded restaurant thing, not taking secrets in my left ear, and not being able to hear anything except the conversation on the other end when I'm on the phone - seriously there could be a train barrelling toward me and I would never notice.)

All of this is just to lead in to the one exception. Headphones. So this is, at best, a rather minor inconvenience of modern life, but an inconvenience nonetheless. When you listen to an iPod using the ubiquitous ear buds, the music is often split between the two ears (i.e., one ear will get the words and the other will get the music). Bet you didn't know that? It's not true of all songs, and it depends on a ton of technical factors that I do not pretend to understand. Well it's annoying to be listening to my iPod and then all of a sudden hear an accapella version of "When I'm 64" or whatever song is next in the playlist. And the other more more minor aggravation of this is that for whatever reason, the traditional ear bud does not fit comfortably in my left ear. So I've got this thing stuck in there hurting and not doing any good at all.

I've been looking for a solution to this issue off and on for some time:

  1. My first attempt was to just cut and remove the left ear bud cord. This works, but it doesn't solve the problem about the stereo nature of the music.

  2. Next I tried a very cheap Radio Shack solution. Unfortunately, the sound quality was akin to two tin cans and a piece of string as it was meant specifically for spoken voice recordings and cell phones.

  3. I tried searching the interwebs for solutions. Surely someone else had experienced this aggravation? And others had, but there was not, generally speaking, any reasonable solutions. I read similar frustration on message boards. The only available headphones were sensationally expensive. The other suggested solution was to somehow convert the music, which sounded way too complex and completely over my head.

  4. So, I chatted with someone on the Apple Store online and then went to the Apple Store. They were nice and attempted to be helpful but (a) clearly did not understand the problem I was describing and looked at me like I was an alien and (b) had nothing to offer.

  5. Next stop was the hearing aid department at the University hospital. A last ditch desperation stop and I was there for a ear check (still deaf btw) anyway. She could offer me custom ear molds to fit on the ear buds at a substantial price but didn't even seem to understand the issue I was describing. She referred me to a high end stereo store.

So, I gave up.

Unbeknownst to me Rykert did his own research, and found the solution for my birthday last September. A single stereo earphone made at a reasonable price by a Florida company. And it has revolutionized my life.


So, this is my public service announcement for all those out there searching for similar information and a similar solution.

*A few years ago, Rykert came across this interesting article in the The New York Times about the different ways that the right and left ear process sounds.

2 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Rykert said...

you are infinitely fortunate to have such a wonderful husband

Anya said...

Libby, just wanted to tell you. Of all the knitting blogs I read, yours always has great links to great patterns and I'm very thankful for it!

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