Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Deaf in one ear and need Stereo To Mono?

Until a while back I thought being deaf in one ear was a fairly unique thing, lately I have met quite a few people who have lost hearing in one ear for a multitude of reasons.

Like me they all like to listen to music on some form of personal player be it their iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, Mp3 Player, CD Walkman etc . . . the problem is that when listening to music with only one ear you're a bit stuck, older rock and pop music by bands such as Queen, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who and others heavily used the two channels to create all these cool sounds with sweeping vocals and effects moving across the channels or having instruments on one channel while vocals were on another.

As an example I am deaf in my left ear and when listening to Bohemian Rhapsody I only get half the vocals, Money by Pink Floyd the opening cash register section fades to nothing and back again. Radar Love by Golden Earring becomes almost an acoustic/vocal track (but not in a bad way) because I can only hear the right channel, and guess where they put that cool bass guitar riff and drums?

A lot of more modern music styles tend not to use this much as it became a bit 'old' so while there are still issues they can be less noticeable.

Years ago when I still had a Cassette Walkman (kids ask your parents) I used to use Winamp to play my MP3 tracklists in mono to record onto tape and this got round the issue, however in the digital world you're stuck unless you have a player that gives you a mono down-mix setting.

Recently I stumbled upon an American company called Scan Sound who make a line of products called the 1Bud's. The rather clever people behind this range have made a unique earpiece the actually does proper stereo to mono conversion, unlike the cheap adapters that just join the Left and Right signal wires together (all of which fail) These earpieces have a small unit built into the lead that performs a proper mixing of the left and right channel into a mono track that give us mono ears the full and terrific sound of music.

I personally ordered the one pictured below which has a twin design with the little bud giving you the main sound and the larger flat section a incredible amount of bass (they make stereo ones as well which I'm sure would rock your brain loose) The pro version comes in both Left and Right handed designs with dedicated iPhone/iPod versions.

Right handed Pro version

They also offer a range of other designs with a basic single bud and over ear ones which you can find here 1-BUD Single-Ear Stereo Earphones

Delivery to the UK was quick and at a decent price, after telling a friend about this who was about to lose his hearing he bought the same design as me and loved it, he also ordered the more basic version for his other half to use at work so she could have some music and still hear what people were asking.
(My friends hearing has since returned after his treatment was finished so while no longer a mono ear he still loves the earpiece)

This post might comes over as a bit like a bad TV advert for these guys and maybe it is, but for us mono ears out there this is the stuff of dreams and it was not an easy thing to find, I've been looking over 10 years for a solution and found this company more by luck than anything so hopefully it will help others in the same situation as myself.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, I'm deaf in my left ear and this was a looong looked for solution. Thank you for posting this!

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    1. Whoever you are I'm happy it helped, enjoy your tunes. :)

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