MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The ListenUp is a personal sound amplifier designed to let you control the volume of your surroundings at home, church, or out at the park. It even suggests you can peer into your neighbor's conversation from across the street. But does it work as promised?
Meet Violet Gibson is a resident at a nursing home, and she's agreed to help us with this test. She admits that over the years, her hearing has begun to slowly fade. She's utilized hearing aids in the past to watch her favorite shows, but admits there's an easier way to enjoy TV.
"I can read it on that TV better than I can hear it," explains Violet who uses closed captioning on her TV.
But Violet is willing to give this new device a try. With some help from the friendly staff, the ear buds were placed in Violet's ears and we turn on the ListenUp. We slowly turn up the TV volume to test the ListenUp.
Resident assistant Kacie Case asks Violet, "Can you hear better?"
Violet says, "That thing keeps falling out," in reference to the ear buds not staying in place. She continues, "I hear it, it don't sound very good. It's just a lot of roar it seems like."
At first check, it seems the ListenUp is a bust, so I put one ear bud in my ear and anther on the microphone. The sound produced by ListenUp is louder, but it's over-modulated and it makes all sounds in the room very hollow. The sounds were all meshed together and the ear buds were hard to keep in our ears.
Violet says, "It was louder, yeah."
I ask, "It was louder, but did it help you in any way hearing?"
Violet replies, "I don't think so. To me it didn't work."
As far as Violet is concerned, she says, "I'd rather sit here and read it."