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DanMalcore

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Dan
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As many of you know I have recommended the Radio Shack handset amplifier for those who need to reduce the volume of sound coming through the telephone.  Unfortunately that unit was discontinued.  The network bought out the remaining stock and since then there has been nothing to replace it. 

Many hyperacusis patients have difficulty talking on the telehphone.  Even though my sound tolerances have improved dramatically over the years, the telephone is still a problem for me.  Since the Radio Shack unit has been discontinued many have contacted the network looking for some device that will help them.

A handset amplifier by it's very definition would seem to be one of the worst things for a hyperacusis patient.  After all, we do not need the volume amplified, we need it de-amplified.  We don't need more sound, we need less sound.  The trick here was to find a handset amplifier that not only would not only increase the volume of the telephone but also decrease the volume.  Every telephone handset amplifier I have tried only increases the volume.  However, I have found a product that reduces the volume and the manfacturer was not even aware of it.  Ironically enough, it is a Radio Shack unit again.

It all starts with this unit:



It is called the Clarity Ameriphone HA40 Portable Telephone Handset Amplifier (Radio Shack Model: HA-40
Catalog #: 55021816).  The price is $29.99.

 
This next part is very important.  If you plug in this unit like it is pictured above it will do exactly as it promises - increase the volume as you slide the lever up. 
 
HOWEVER, if you install it backwards by putting the white wire in the bottom of the unit, then into your telephone it will start at normal volume and deceased the volume to zero as you slide the lever.
 
Couple of other things.  Obviously this device only works on a hard line telephone (not a cordless phone).  Anyone who lives outside the US and cannot get this unit is not out of luck.  The network has purchased a few of these units and will resell them at cost. 
 
Dan

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cbBen

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Reply with quote  #2 
Dan,

Thank you for posting this.  It seems we discovered this product simultaneously.  This is amazing.  I just bought this thing and installed it backwards on the advice of the salesperson.  Can you believe she understood my need and how to address it so readily?

Unfortunately it is not a help to me.  The tone control did not change the tone to any degree I could detect, and moreover my problem seems to be this:  Even at volumes where I an barely hear what the other person is saying, I get significant ear pain.   I can't have the volume lower.  Then I wouldn't be able to hear the other person.  Plus, I can fairly well take care of the volume issue myself by turning the volume on the phone all the way down and then putting layers of tape over the speaker (thank you Rob).

What I really want people's thoughts on (Dr. Johnson are you there?, though I absolutely want other people's voices as well) is this:  Why and I getting pain upon even the most minimal amount of noise exposure, when it is right against my ear; but not getting pain when the noise is not right against my ear -- even though that non-against-the-ear noise is of a much higher decibel level (even by the time it reaches my ear and ear drum).  It makes no sense to me or my army of doctors.

So please let me know what you think, everyone.  I suppose what I am apt to try  next is a device with an equalizer that really knocks out the high frequencies (even if it alters the other person's voice a little).


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Rob

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Reply with quote  #3 

Dan,

Thank you for the superb suggestion on the Radio Shack device.

..........

cbBen,

I'm not sure if there are standards which phone suppliers need to follow these days or not.  But one thing is for sure.  The sound quality of telephones varies greatly amongst the different models and types of phones (i.e., cellphones, telephones, speakerphones).  And that can be an enormous potential problem for folks with hyperacusis.  Take the speakerphone, for instance.  Speakerphone manufacturers aren't interested in a pretty sound; rather, they are interested in an intelligible, explicable sound.  In other words, the speakerphone maker isn't interested in whether a speakerphone sounds nice.  He's simply interested in the sound being easy-to-understand.  In order to make the voices coming thru a speakerphone understandable, the manufacturers typically bump up the volume of percussive sounds, like "t" and "b" and "p", around 3 kHz and 5 kHz.  The same is true of many cellphones.  As a result, I would argue that the reason a number of hyperacusics find it difficult to use the phone is because we may be hearing a number of sounds which are beyond our tolerance at certain frequencies. 

What can we do about it?  Two things. 

We can lower the volume and/or we can dampen down some of the problematic frequencies.  Attaching an equalizer to your phone, if you can figure out how to do so, would be an excellent way to reduce the amplitude of problematic frequencies. 

Another approach is to improve on the duct tape idea.  Go to a fabric store.  Buy a number of different fabrics -- wool, leather, furniture coverings -- and cut out very small squares of these things and stack them over the phone's receiver.  In this way, you will also dampen down some of the higher ended frequencies which, I believe, may be causing your ear pain. 

For the last few months, I've had to take part in numerous conference calls each week.  There were upwards of 20 or 30 people on some of these calls, and many of them were using completely different means to participate in the call.  The result, for me, was that I was in constant pain which literally lasted for months.  The fabric store idea is something I've tried, and while it wasn't perfect by any means, it has been helpful to a degree.  Perhaps it will be helpful to you too.   

Rob 
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cbBen

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks Rob I'll go fabric hunting.

But:  What is it that hurts?  A muscle or joint or the tympanic memberane?  Some body pary has to be what is hurting!

I had no problem on the phone whatsoever a few weeks ago.


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SandyTH

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Reply with quote  #5 
AT&T provides the devise Dan describes or one very similar to this for free to all their customers.  A form needs to be signed by an audiologist or doctor describing one's ear condition and the need for it.  They will send one per household.  




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aQuieterBreeze

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Reply with quote  #6 
re: Fabric for Phones-
A fabric store near me USED to sell "batting" or filling for comforters or quilts.
And  "poly fill" or something similar for pillows. I do not know if any of that would be helpful.
But maybe one of the above, combined and Covered Over with other material would help?
I also don't know if it is still sold.
As it's been along time since I paid a visit to the fabric store.
For anyone using fabric- I would suggest that if Possible- wash the fabric first, by hand if necessary.
Especially the outer layer. And make sure its dry before you use it!
(If it's washable, because of the finishes etc. that may be applied to the fabric.)
I would think it is similar to clothing etc., best to wash before wearing. (Just my view on that)
By the way, Would you want to make sure that the material is not one of the fabrics prone to static?
(I am not sure if that would matter or not.)

I have a hard time on the phone at times too and really feel for anyone "here" who Has to be on the phone.
Good luck with all of that stuff.

To Dan and Sandy-
Thanks for the info!
Sandy- do you have any other info on that device from AT&T?
A link maybe?

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ChristinaLuke

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Reply with quote  #7 
Oh my goodness!!  I can't believe the things I can learn from this message board!  How amazing!  For years I have been wondering why is it that I have so much trouble with those conference calls with people over the speaker phones, and why is it that I get so much pain when talking on my cell phone...and now I know.
You guys are great!
I still don't know what to do when I'm with a room full of people on a speaker phone though ...they always sound like some bits of the words are gone, but why is it that other people can understand them and I can't?  Now after reading Rob's message, I think the reason is not because those bits are gone, but rather they are beyond my tolerance level and my mind just shuts down for the split seconds when those sounds are produced.
I think over the years with H, I have gotten accustom to wincing/mind-shutting when covering my ears is not an option.

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cbBen

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for all this advice. 

I sttll wonder which body part is in pain when we are on the phone.  There has to be a specific part hurting?!

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SandyTH

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Reply with quote  #9 

aQB asks:

Sandy- do you have any other info on that device from AT&T?
A link maybe?

..........

I would suggest you phone the AT&T business office and inform them you are interested in the amplifier needed for the hearing impaired.  A form is needed to be signed by your audiologist or doctor to receive it free of charge.  I hope this helps. 

Sandy


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aQuieterBreeze

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thank You Sandy - hopefully that will help many here!
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DanMalcore

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Reply with quote  #11 
Sandy
There is a good chance the AT&T unit may not work like this unit.  If you purchase it from AT&T do it in a way that you are guaranteed to get your money back if it doesn't work.
Dan

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SandyTH

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Reply with quote  #12 
Dan,

The AT&T devise is free through the phone company.   My mother has this unit so I will check it out and report back.
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LynnMcLaren

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Christina, (((( Smiles ))))

I like that.. Thats the first time I heard it put in thoses terms..
Thats probably so true.. My ears use to do what I called at one time..
Cutting on and off.. Shutting on and off...
It's was like gaps and that happened to me alot early on
especially while I was attempting to do sound therapy...
It happened in other situations as well but mostly with that...
There was also a natural counter to sound.. I found...
That I could also use much later on in my hyperacusis expirence...
" inside " my ears..
that could counter out sounds I had a hard time with..
by just don't it..
I wrote about it on the board long ago when I went to a neighbors
garden tea party of neighborhood gals....
It's on the board somewhere how I found out I could do this with my ears/hearing at that event.....
I was amazed I could do that then.... 
It helped me counter out the sound here and there..
It helped alot..
It was done naturally....
I could just make it happen....
It's just the strangest thing because I don't remember doing any of that..
Before my T and H...
In fact it never happened ever before that at all.. 
My ears did nothing out of the ordinary back then..
They were like normal.......
Interesting observation....  

Quote:

I think the reason is not because those bits are gone, but rather they are beyond my tolerance level and my mind just shuts down for the split seconds when those sounds are produced.
I think over the years with H, I have gotten accustom to wincing/mind-shutting when covering my ears is not an option.




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