When you are trying to follow online exercise videos at home, it's really frustrating if you can't hear the instructions clearly.
You aren't sure what you are meant to do and end up with your legs and arms in the wrong place at the wrong time. You feel confused and embarrassed (even though no-one can see you!). All you want to do is to concentrate on the exercises without worrying about hearing the instructions...
I want to make sure you can always hear the instructions loud and clear. I want you to feel 100% confident that you are doing the exercise correctly (even when you can't see the screen).
I want you to feel good whilst you are doing your online videos, so that you enjoy doing them and come back again and again. Because you don't get stronger or improve your balance by doing a video once or twice. You've got to keep coming back (not necessarily to exactly the same video, obviously, that would be quite dull).
When you feel confident and enjoy doing your online videos, you will keep up the habit. And that's when you will feel the difference. That's when you will start noticing yourself standing up taller, feeling stronger, more balanced and with more energy everyday.
In this article, I will dive into all the steps you can take to get the great sound quality you need to enjoy and make the most of your online exercise videos.
I will divulge:
- The two settings you need to check now if you are having trouble hearing your videos
- How to choose between headphones and speakers (and the different types of each)
- The 3 other pieces of technology that might help you to get better sound for your videos (you might already have one of these).
There are several things you can do to make sure you can hear your online instructor loud and clear. I will go through these step-by-step to make sure you have all the help you need to hear and make the most of your online exercise videos.
First, we need to check a few volume settings. You may not even need those headphones or speakers, so do these quick checks first...
If you are having trouble hearing your videos properly, there are two volume settings to check:
Check the video is at the maximum level (there will be a volume adjustment icon at the bottom right of the screen). This is what it looks like on the videos on our site (all the bars are blue here, which means the volume is set to maximum):
(nb. Whenever I write ‘device’ in this article, this is the device you are using to watch the videos on, your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.)
Check that your device volume is as high as possible. There are various options, both on screen, using the keyboard or using the buttons on your device. If it’s your phone, make sure you adjust the ‘media volume’ not just the ringtone volume.
You may find that, with the video and device volume up to maximum, you can hear everything you need.
If all your volume settings are already at maximum, but you just can't hear as well as you would like, then you will benefit from a set of headphones or speakers. (There are other options too, scroll down to the FAQs, especially if you have a hearing aid or a mobile phone amplifier).
Headphones & Speakers
There are several different types of speakers and headphones. I want to help you get the best ones for you, so I will go through all the different options here.
The factors that will influence your decision include:
- What device you are using to watch the videos on
- Whether you like wearing headphones
- Whether you always do your videos in the same place or want to be able to do them in various places
- How much you want to spend
Hopefully, this will help you to find the best audio solution for you.
I will cover some additional options (including hearing aids) at the end of the post, so keep on reading to make sure you don’t miss anything!
You can get a good pair of headphones without spending too much, and they are easy to take on the road with you.
Of course, headphones with wires aren’t going to work for exercising – you will get all tangled up! So, you will need wireless headphones.
Wireless headphones connect to your device using Bluetooth (which is a short-distance wireless technology).
The first thing to check is if the device you are watching the videos on has Bluetooth functionality (here's how to check if your device has Bluetooth).
If your device has Bluetooth, you can buy any pair of Bluetooth headphones. If you are wearing them regularly, you want to ensure that your headphones have good enough sound quality and are comfortable. If you are a music aficionado, you may feel it is worth spending more for extra sound quality.
Wireless headphones will be a good choice for you if:
- Your device has Bluetooth
- You want to be able to perform the exercises in different places (they can all fit into your pocket or bag, so you can take the opportunity to exercise anytime, any place).
- You find a pair that are comfortable for you.
Different headphone styles
There are two main types of headphones – in-ear and over-ear. Which you choose will be a matter of comfort and personal preference.
These are small buds which fit in your ears. Make sure they fit well, as it will drive you round the bend if they keep falling out whilst you are exercising. Some of them come with different-sized attachments so that you can ensure a good fit. Try several to see which are most comfortable for you.
In-ear headphones can be two separate buds which just sit in your ears (without being attached to each other).
The ones I am wearing in this picture are connected to each other with a cable around the back of the neck, which means I am less likely to lose them.
These are larger, cover your ear and have a band over your head. Over-ear headphones usually have some noise-cancellation features, blocking out any other noises in the vicinity, enabling you to concentrate on your video instructions. Some people find them more comfortable than in-ear versions.
If you don’t want to wear headphones, then you can use external speakers to supplement the speakers which are built-in to your device. You will get better sound quality and higher volume.
You will hear your videos loud and clear without messing up your hair or worrying about little ‘buds’ dropping out of your ears.
External speakers can be wired (attached to your device with a cable), or wireless (they connect to your device via Bluetooth).
If your device doesn’t have Bluetooth, then these are the best option for you as they will plug into the headphone jack of your device.
You should consider wired external speakers if:
- Your device doesn’t have Bluetooth
- You don’t like wearing headphones
- You are happy for your speakers to be close to your device (they can only go as far as the cables will allow).
If your device has Bluetooth, you can use wireless speakers. As these don’t need to be connected to your device, you can place them anywhere you like around the room.
Wireless speakers are a good choice for you if you:
- Are using a Bluetooth-enabled device
- Don’t want to wear headphones
- Might want to move the speakers around the room
Charge them up!
Don’t forget to keep your headphones or speakers charged (and take all the power/ charging cables with you when you travel). That way, there’s nothing stopping you when you make time to do your online exercise videos!
Here are the answers to some of the other questions we have been asked around sound quality:
How do I know if my device has Bluetooth?
It’s not always obvious if your device has Bluetooth. The good news is that almost all smartphones and tablets have Bluetooth. All iPads and iPhones certainly do. Some older computers and laptops might not, however.
The following will help you to check if your computer has Bluetooth. Please note that:
- I am an exercise specialist and not a computer technician, and
- All computers and operating systems vary, so these exact instructions may not work on all devices.
How to check if your PC has Bluetooth
Here are two ways to check if your PC has Bluetooth:
- Go to the bottom left of your screen, click on Windows image, Settings icon which should come up above the Power/ Restart icon, then Devices & Bluetooth
- Go to the bottom left of your screen, click in the search box, type Bluetooth and click on the first result which comes in the menu above
You should then get through to a screen where you can see Bluetooth settings and switch your Bluetooth on and off. This screen is also where you pair your computer with your Bluetooth headphones.
How to check if your Mac has Bluetooth
According to the Apple website, there are several ways to check if your Mac or MacBook has Bluetooth:
- Look for the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. If the Bluetooth icon is present, your computer has Bluetooth.
- Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Bluetooth. If the Bluetooth preferences screen lists options for enabling Bluetooth and making your device discoverable, then the device does have Bluetooth.
- From the Apple menu, choose About this Mac, then click More Info. Select Bluetooth from the Hardware section. If the Hardware Setting section shows information, your system has Bluetooth installed.
How do I get my Bluetooth headphones or speakers to work with my device?
Once you have bought the headphones or speakers, you will need to switch them on, activate the Bluetooth on your device and ‘pair’ them. Look for pairing (linking) Instructions in the packaging or online.
When you activate Bluetooth on your device, you should see available items to pair with it. Your headphones or speakers should be there, ready to be found and linked to your device.
If you can’t work it out, the best bet is usually to ask a grandchild or see if any of your neighbours have teenage children. It will probably take them about three and a half seconds. Just be prepared for the exaggerated eye rolling when they realise what a simple task you are asking them for help with!
Can I use my ‘smart’ speaker?
If you have a ‘smart speaker’ (e.g. Amazon Alexa, Google Home), you may be able to hear the audio from your device through this. Check the instructions for your speaker to see how to do this.
What if I have a hearing aid?
If you have a hearing aid, then headphones may not work, and speakers may be a better option for you.
If your hearing aid is in-ear, then you won’t be able to use ear buds (in-ear headphones) at the same time. Over-ear headphones might not fit over the hearing aid or may provide feedback or affect sound quality.
Some people with behind the ear hearing aids report being able to wear in-ear phones.
You may also find that you can take your hearing aid off if you are wearing good quality headphones or using loud, clear speakers.
If you have a hearing aid, please try several options to see what works best for you, before spending any money.
Some hearing aids now have Bluetooth connectivity, so can take the place of headphones and connect directly to your device. These devices, also known as hearables, combine advanced sound processing computers, wireless technology and high-quality hearing aids. They provide balanced sound quality and are worth discussing at your next hearing aid consultation.
What if my device doesn’t have a headphone jack?
Some newer phones and tablets now come without a standard headphone jack (3.5mm), so you might not be able to attach wired speakers.
If this is the case for you, you have two options:
- Get an adapter that will attach a regular headphone cable into the charging jack of your phone. Take your phone and any pair of headphones into a store to test this and make sure you get the right adapter.
- Use the wireless functionality of your device to link to Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
Can I use my mobile phone amplifier?
You may already have an amplifier for your mobile (or cellphone). These devices connect with your phone via Bluetooth and perform two functions. Firstly, they help to alert you to an incoming call (with loud ringing and often vibrations too). You also use the amplifier when you are on a call, to give you a higher volume and crisp, clear audio.
This could work for you if you :
- Already have, or want to buy, an amplifier for your phone
- Want to watch the videos on your phone (the screen is smaller but you can put it anywhere so have more options for where you do the exercises)
- Don’t like wearing headphones
What else would help you make the most of your online videos?
I hope this has answered your questions and helped you to find the best option for improving the sound quality of your online exercise videos.
Let me know how this has helped you and how you get the best sound for your online videos. Do you wear headphones or use speakers? Do you have a 'hearable' and does this work well for you? Do you have any more questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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All material in this article is provided for information and educational purposes only. It is not advice and should not be relied on as such. Always consult an exercise or health professional if you have any health issues and need personalised advice. With this in mind, we hope you enjoy reading our articles.