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Pocket Talkers have become a popular alternative to typical hearing aids.
If you’re experiencing trouble listening, and hearing aids aren’t on the table, it may be time to pursue a simple sound amplifier.
Since their inception, pocket talkers have become trusted devices for those who have been unsuccessful with hearing aids, whether due to cost, age, or severity of hearing loss.
Nicknamed the Pocketalker, these devices work best for those living quiet lifestyles and mostly find themselves have trouble listening in one-on-one conversation, small groups, or to the television.
Created by Williams Sound, the Pocketalker Ultra is a compact, body-worn unit, roughly the size of a pack of cards, that transmits an amplified sound signal via the sensitive microphone and connected earphones.
The main role of the Pocketalker is to amplify sounds nearest the listener up to 40 dB while reducing background noise.
This form of amplification offers both tone control and volume control so you can customize your listening depending on the environment.
One of the most useful features of the device is that the microphone is detachable and can be hooked up to the microphone extension cord so that the speaker of interest can talk directly into it. That way, the speaker’s voice will go directly to the Pocketalker without interference from background noise.
The Pocketalker is conveniently operated by 2 AAA batteries for up to 100 hours of listening. With the Pocketalker Ultra you get a year’s supply of batteries, all for an affordable price.
Extremely Sensitive Microphone
Pocketalker offers a microphone sensitive enough to pick up conversation with clarity.
Because the microphone is either attached to the listener or the speaker, background noise is automatically attenuated due to its distance from the mic.
Microphone Extension Cord
As mentioned previously, the 12-foot microphone extension cord can be one of your most powerful tools as a listener.
By offering the flexibility and length of the extension cord, you can hand over the mic directly to the person you’re talking to, cutting out any background noise that may be getting picked up by the microphone otherwise.
This is especially useful in situations in background noise, immediately improving the signal-to-noise ratio for the listener.
Automatic Gain Control
From an audiologic standpoint, Automatic Gain Control (AGC) is an essential feature of any amplifier.
Basically, the device will automatically reduce the volume when you are in situation with extremely loud sounds. This is critical for protecting your residual hearing and preventing further damage.
Earphones and T-coil
Although this product does come with earphones, if anything happens to them, you can hook up any regular MP3 earphones and continue listening.
Not only that, but if you are currently a hearing aid wearer, the pocket talker can be used as a neck induction loop, so you can listen to the microphone signal directly through your T-coil compatible devices.
The Pocketalker Ultra can be easily packed and taken on the go wherever you need listening assistance.
With the belt clip, you can also keep it on your person. Because it is larger than on-the-ear devices, it is less likely to fall off or get misplaced while you’re out and about.
The ease of use and power that the Pocketalker offers is largely due to its somewhat bulky size, which may be a turn-off for some.
The Pocketalker is not meant to be an invisible device, and the headphones that come with it are over-the-ear.
Basically, Pocketalkers are created for functionality, not to be cosmetically appealing.
Although the Pocketalker comes with earphones, they have been described as somewhat mediocre.
We all know that quality earphones can make the difference in sound quality, but this standard pair lacks some of the features of higher quality earphones.
Not a Fitted, Prescription Hearing Aid
While the Pocketalker does offer tone and volume controls, remember that it is not a fitted hearing aid.
Overall, this device amplifies across the frequency spectrum and your success may largely depend on the configuration and severity of your hearing loss.
What is a Pocket Talker Best For?
For dozens of years, Pocketalkers have stood apart from other amplifiers with their reliability and ease of use.
They are especially well-suited for elderly patients, particularly those in care facilities where management of hearing aids and other devices is not a priority.
If you need help hearing in quiet situations or in small groups, this may be just the ticket to improved listening.
Overall, the Pocketalker is a solid and trustworthy sound amplifier. If you find yourself straining to hear, it may be time to give it a try.
As always, if you’ve experienced a sudden change in your hearing and before you pursue any form of amplification we strongly recommend you seek an evaluation by a doctor or audiologist to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to your hearing loss.
We hope this review has been helpful on your path to improved listening. If you have any questions or want to share your Pocketalker stories, please leave us a comment below.
We love hearing from our readers. Happy listening!