If you live in a house or apartment where family, housemates, or neighbors constantly tell you to turn down the TV – then perhaps it’s a good time to invest in a pair of wireless TV headphones. As with wireless TV speakers, some wireless TV headphones are designed specifically for the hearing impaired who might struggle to hear the TV. Rather than turning the TV volume up, a pair of headphones can isolate the audio for an improved listening experience.
In this article, we look at the best wireless headphones for TV. We have included choices for the general consumer who may be looking for high-quality over-ear wireless headphones to use while watching TV or listening to music while walking around the house. We’ve also included an option or two for the hearing impaired.
Sennheiser RS 175
An excellent option for every application. The elderly or hard of hearing will appreciate the exceptional sound quality, and so will general users, gamers, and even bass heads.
Our Category Winners
Editors Note: This list was updated on 8th December 2022 to replace several product selections, add additional buyer’s guide content, and adjust the page layout for better readability.
Best Wireless Headphones for TV
Here is our list of what we feel are some of the best products currently on the market. We’ve kept this list small, as a large number of products within this space fail to live up to what we’d consider reliable enough for a recommendation.
1. Sennheiser RS 175 RF
17 Hz – 22 kHz
Sennheiser is one of my favorite brands. Their products are always well made with an emphasis on producing an audio product with the best possible sound within the given price range. The RS 175 will appeal to many users, as they look and feel like traditional over-ear headphones.
The first thing you’ll notice with the Sennheiser RS 175 is that they appear bulky. However, when you pick the headphones up, they’re actually really lightweight and only weigh 10.9oz (with the batteries included). The base station is also very light so that anyone can move the system around without much effort.
The base station features two audio inputs: one ⅛ inch AUX and one optical. You can switch between these two inputs, which means you could (for example) have your TV in the optical input and use the AUX for your mobile phone or music-playing device. The base station is powered by an AC adapter supplied with the system.
The RS 175 comes with built-in AAA rechargeable batteries, which are claimed to last around 18 hours. In our experience, you should expect around 13 to 15 hours in most situations, but battery life will depend on volume and what features you have used. The nice thing about having AAA batteries is that you can pick up rechargeables at a good price, and of course, the availability of AAA batteries is practically universal.
To recharge the RS 175 headphones, you simply place them on the base station, and it recharges through the point of contact. This is also a good place to store it when not in use.
You can connect up to two RS 175 headphones to a single base station, allowing you to watch with a friend or partner. This feature may not mean much to the single user, but couples who both want to enjoy the same experience without making a noise doing so can do so with ease.
These headphones have a range of 328ft (100m) which will continue to work without any interference or dropout – even when you’re in another room. For most apartments and standard-sized 2-3 bedroom homes, the range shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll probably get better coverage than your WiFi.
The ear cups on the RS 175 are a decent-sized over-ear fit with soft memory foam padding for the ear pads. The headband features the same soft padding, and both are covered in PU leather material. The RS 175 fits nicely on your head and can easily be worn for a few hours while watching a movie or playing games.
The RS 175 also includes a couple of really cool audio features. Firstly, there is a bass boost and surround sound mode. The bass boost on the RS 175 is significant! You will receive some serious skull-rattling sounds. This is particularly good for listening to certain types of music or playing games. The surround sound mode is a little confusing; it creates more of a spatial awareness type of audio picture rather than true or even virtual surround sound. More than anything, it just feels like the sound is further away. Secondly, there is also a LO and Hi version of the surround mode – so you can play around with this depending on what you’re watching or listening to.
The sound quality on the RS 175 is exceptional, perhaps even good as some premium cable headphones. You get a good balance across all frequencies, which ensures everything from watching movies to listening to the news is clear and enjoyable. The RS 175 also offers a decent amount of isolation. So, if you’re watching TV in bed, you won’t disturb the person lying next to you.
All of the functions can be conveniently controlled on both the base station, as well as on the headphones. The headphones control panel appears on the left ear cup where you can engage the bass boost and surround sound mode as well as adjust volume levels.
Now when it comes to premium Sennheiser products – they’re never cheap. The RS 175 is certainly not a budget headphone. If you’re looking for the best wireless headphones for TV listening, then you don’t get much better than the RS 175. At over $250 the headphones aren’t cheap, but they’re definitely well worth the investment.
The Sennheiser RS 175 is a great option for every application. The elderly or hard of hearing will appreciate the exceptional sound quality especially. For the general user, gamers, and even bass heads, the RS 175 is a great pair of wireless TV headphones.
What’s in the Box?
Sennheiser RS 175 RF In Summary
The Sennheiser RS 175 RF remains one of the heavy hitters in wireless headphones for TV use. Not only do you get the same high-quality materials and overall build quality that you’d expect from a Sennheiser product, but you also get the extremely low latency of RF connectivity. If any improvements could be made on the RS 175, it’s that the battery life could be a bit better.
2. Avantree HT5009
Radio Frequency & Bluetooth
20 Hz – 20 kHz
The Avantree HT5009 Wireless Headphones for TV is a bit of a hybrid system. You can use the HT5009 on its own as a normal Bluetooth headphone or pair it with the transmitter as a wireless TV headphone.
Since these headphones have Bluetooth 5.0, you’ll get impressive range regardless of the transmitter, but this transmitter will help in latency.
Unlike most wireless TV headphones, which work with RF or digital frequency connectivity, the Avantree HT5009 is a Bluetooth headphone. Bluetooth may have its drawbacks when compared to RF, but there are also benefits, such as being more stable and experiencing less dropout compared with RF frequencies.
Even better, the base station can pair with any Bluetooth headphones as well. So, if you already own Bluetooth headphones, you can just purchase the Aventree transmitter on its own. The transmitter will allow you to pair up to two devices at the same time – including Bluetooth headphones as well as speakers.
The transmitter allows for two audio inputs: ⅛ inch AUX or optical input. Avantree supplies you with multiple cables, so don’t worry if you don’t have these already. The transmitter is powered via a micro USB cable which means you can get power from your PC or the USB output on your TV. This micro USB cannot be used as an audio connection, though.
The headphones have a built-in battery, which also uses a micro USB cable for charging. Avantree supplies you with two of these in the package system, one for the headphones and the other for the transmitter.
The HT5009 is an over-ear headphone with large ear cups that fit comfortably over the ears. The earpads and headband both feature soft memory foam with a quality PU leather cover. The fit is comfortable, and you can wear the HT4189 for extended periods without experiencing too much discomfort.
The sound quality on the HT5009 is decent. Perhaps not the best sounding headphone available, but at just under $100 for the complete system – you get exceptional value. The sound is decent enough for most TVs and movies but does lack a little bass. For the elderly or hard of hearing, the HT5009 is more than sufficient with enough volume and clarity.
The HT5009 headphones feature a three-button control that allows you to play/pause, adjust the volume, and skip tracks. The play/pause and track skip buttons can only be used when paired with a normal Bluetooth device, while the volume control can be used with the transmitter as well.
If you’re looking for a versatile, hybrid headphone for both TV and general use, then the Avantree HT5009 Wireless Headphones with Transmitter is an excellent choice. At just under $100, the system is affordable and will certainly be our best wireless headphones for TV listening in the $100 price category. The HT5009 sounds good and is what you would expect from a $100 headphone. For the price, you won’t get much better than these.
What’s in the Box?
Avantree HT5009 In Summary
The Avantree HT5009 is a unique pair of TV headphones that offer a bit of a hybrid design in that it doesn’t offer just RF or Bluetooth connectivity but allows for both. That makes these a versatile choice that will prove to be far more than just a pair of wireless TV headphones.
3. Sennheiser PXC 550-II
Bluetooth (AptX LL Support)
17 Hz – 23 kHz
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II is another versatile pair of noise-canceling headphones that offer everything that we look for in a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones for TV use. What separates the PXC 550-II from a lot of other Bluetooth headphones is the inclusion of aptX LL codec support. AptX LL is a newer Bluetooth codec that reduces latency from over 200ms to as low as 32ms. This surpasses that of the regular aptX, which is only able to bring latency down to around 80ms.
You should note that in order to take advantage of the low latency with these codecs, you’ll likely need a compatible transmitter, as most televisions don’t utilize aptX LL, with the exception of some of the newer, high-end models.
Being a Sennheiser product, we’re not surprised by the build quality of the PXC 550-II. These headphones carry the same standard that the company has set over the years for using quality materials for the build of their devices and an overall solid in-hand feeling. They weigh in at around 8oz, similar to that of other headphones in this space, but can also fold up for ease of transport or storage.
Regarding comfort, these headphones tend to work well with most head sizes and shapes and can easily cater to hours of use without discomfort setting in. This is something that we deem extremely important in wireless headphones for TV use.
Sound quality is another area where these headphones shine and can keep up with the Sony WH-1000XM5 in this regard. The frequency response chart for the PXC 550-II shows a mostly balanced sound signature with a few peaks in the upper treble, but otherwise, these are turned to near-perfection, especially for a pair of wireless TV headphones.
The advertised battery life for the Sennheiser PXC 550-II is a very respectable 30 hours. Depending on what features you have enabled and the type of connectivity you’re using, this value may change slightly, but overall we found Sennheiser’s advertised battery life to be quite accurate.
While these headphones aren’t made specifically for TV use, the combination of ANC, comfort, sound quality, and low latency performance makes them great all-around headphones that can be used for almost all your daily needs.
What’s in the Box?
PXC 550-II Headphones
USB Charging cable (Micro to A)
Quick guide and safety guide
Sennheiser PXC 550-II In Summary
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II may not be the most affordable pair of headphones on this list, but they remain one of our favorites. Their strength lies in the impressive battery life along with the build quality. However, the sound quality is a bit better on the RS 175 if you’re not concerned with the added versatility.
20 Hz – 23 kHz
TV Ears Original Wireless Headset is one of the most popular TV hearing aids on the market. Even legendary singer Pat Boone recommends TV Ears for the elderly and the hearing impaired. TV Ears is also endorsed by California M.D – Dr. Robert Forbes.
The lightweight, 3.25oz headset fits comfortably in the ears, with memory foam earpieces that expand to fit comfortably in the ear canal. Not only does this offer comfort but good isolation as well – allowing you to focus on the audio. This isolation also means those around you won’t hear any sound leakage.
The transmitter is a simple plug-and-play device. There is a single ⅛ inch input, so it’s easy to install the audio cable. TV Ears supply you with two cables. An RCA to ⅛ inch and ⅛ inch to ⅛ inch. TV Ears recommends that you use the RCA cable connected to your television’s RCA Audio Out for the best audio quality.
The TV Ears headset produces excellent sound quality and clarity. While an in-ear headphone will never beat the bass response of an over-ear headphone. the TV Ears do a good job of producing a pleasant bass sound. The mids and highs are very clear too. The headphones have both volume and tone control – so you can tune the headphones to your exact hearing requirements. The headset can produce 120dB of sound, so you will never battle with volume.
The built-in battery on the TV Ears headset will last up to 7 hours. Recharging the battery is as easy as placing the headset in the transmitter charging dock. The dock has space for a second headset, so if you do have more than one – you can charge both on one transmitter.
The transmitter-to-headset range is approximately 65 feet. It’s important to note that you will need to be in direct line of sight of the transmitter for the headphones to work efficiently. If you’re watching TV, placing the transmitter on a TV stand or table beside the TV is best.
If you prefer in-ear headphones to over-ear ones, then the TV Ears Original is the best in-ear system. It’s the only hearing system we have found that is endorsed by a doctor. The isolation and clarity of the headset mean that you don’t need to turn the volume up too high. With just a single input, the system is easy to set up/ install for anyone. The TV Ears system is highly recommended for the elderly and the hearing impaired.
What’s in the Box?
TV Headset with a rechargeable battery
Transmitter with space for two headsets
⅛ inch AUX cable
RCA to ⅛ inch cable
Power cable for transmitter
TV Ears Original In Summary
The TV Ears Original stands out as a great choice for those hard-of-hearing and who are not looking for an over-ear headphone but rather an in-ear solution. The TV Ears Original is a durable product that serves the hard-of-hearing but may lack the comfort you’ll find from over-ear models.
10 Hz – 20 kHz
The Sony WH-1000XM5 is Sony’s latest set of headphones in this range, following the legacy that the WH-1000XM4 brought to the market. The WH-1000XM5 is designed as a noise-canceling headphone, but the features that make a headphone good for TV are similar to those that we look for in good noise-canceling headphones.
These headphones don’t feature RF connectivity but instead rely on a traditional Bluetooth connection. This isn’t going to be ideal for those who are sensitive to latency and want to reduce the audio transfer times to the lowest possible. You will also need to purchase a separate transmitter for these headphones if your TV doesn’t include Bluetooth connectivity.
The WH-1000XM5 brings much of what we love about the WH-1000XM4, but with even better sound quality. There are a few tweaks to the upper treble where we see the XM5 provide fewer peaks and, overall, a slightly more balanced treble response. The bass and midrange remain fairly similar, but there is a slight increase in the mid to upper bass.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 offers support for three codecs, SBC, AAC, and LDAC. The LDAC codec is one of the more efficient, low-latency codecs on consumer headphones. It also offers Bluetooth 5.2 functionality, ensuring that even native Bluetooth performance is at the top of its game. While Bluetooth 5.2 has made massive improvements to latency compared to Bluetooth 4, you can still expect latency times of just over 200ms.
The battery life with these headphones is great, though while marketed as 30 hours, you can expect a little less when using specific features; even the use of specific codecs will slightly impact your battery life. You won’t find yourself hating the battery life on these beauties, though – especially with how quickly these charge!
Design and build quality is something that Sony’s 1000X series has always done well at, and the 1000XM5 carries that same high quality through to this model. These headphones weigh in at around 8.8oz, which isn’t particularly light, but the weight is primarily a result of the high build quality rather than just being unjustifiably heavy.
Where the Sony 1000XM series has excelled, arguably the most is with the active noise cancelation that they offer. While we see a lot of ANC headphones do the bare minimum, the Sony WH-1000XM5 offers great noise-canceling performance.
This is a versatile pair of headphones that can serve as your daily driver or as a solution to watching TV in bed.
What’s in the Box?
Sony WH-1000XM5 Black Noise Cancelling Headphones
Protective Carry Case
Type C-USB charging cable
Sony WH-1000XM5 In Summary
Sony WH-1000XM5 had a tough legacy to live up to, with the WH-1000XM4 being one of the most-loved ANC headphones on the market. The Sony WH-1000XM5 took everything we loved from the Sony WH-1000XM4 and added better Bluetooth capabilities, a better microphone, and overall improved sound quality.
10 Hz – 22 kHz
The Sony MDR-RF995RK Wireless RF Headphone is great for apartments or smaller houses. The 150-foot range means you’ll experience excellent reception in the room you’re watching in, but moving around the house or apartment might lead to some noise and interference.
The MDR-RF995RK is one of the more stylish wireless TV headphones on the market, and the large rectangular design fits nicely over the ears. The earpads are cushioned with soft memory foam and covered in soft PU leather. The headband is mostly plastic except for the very top, which is covered in the same memory foam and PU leather as the ear pads. While comfort is very dependent on the individual, these are rather comfortable for most wearers but may be large for smaller heads. If anything, the build quality as a whole on these headphones is one of the most noticeable downsides.
The Sony MDR-RF995RK does have some passive noise isolation which means you can listen without disturbing someone sitting or sleeping next to you.
All the function controls are on the headphones themselves. On the right ear cup are three controls: the first is a recessed rotary volume control, the second button is a voice effect function (Engaging the voice effect will deliver better vocal intelligibility for news and dialogue-heavy content), and the third button is an auto-tuning button.
The base station or transmitter has three frequencies for transmitting. If you are experiencing any interference on the current frequency, you can press the auto-tuning button on the headphones to switch to another frequency and pair the two devices again.
The transmitter features a single ⅛ inch audio input which Sony supplies to you. If your TV only has an RCA out, then you’ll need to purchase an RCA to ⅛ inch separately.
On the top of the transmitter is a contact point for recharging the headphones. To recharge the headphones, simply place them on the base station. The headphones’ built-in battery lasts up to 20 hours of continuous playing time.
If you have ever owned or listened to the MDR-RF985RK (the predecessor to the RF995RK) then you’ll know that these were excellent-sounding wireless headphones for TV listening. The MDR-RF995RK improves on this sound quality. The headphones are great for all types of media – including movies, sports, general TV, music, and even games.
The biggest difference between the 995RK and the 985RK is the wireless range. With the 985RK, you could walk about the house, only experiencing dropout when you were a few rooms away. In some cases, you could even go up or downstairs. With the 995RK you won’t have this type of freedom. The headphones will start to drop out as soon as you leave the room, so don’t expect the same range as before.
After doing some investigating online, I have discovered that this is due to the 995RK having an inferior transmitter to the 985RK and not related to the actual headphones themselves. Users with the 985RK and 995RK have paired the 995RK with the 985RK transmitter. The result is the 995RK performs as good, if not better, than the 985RK headphones. So, if you own the old 985RK system, use the old transmitter with your new 995RK headphones if your goal is to move around the house. You will enjoy a significantly better reception.
The RF-995RK Sony wireless headphones for TV have exceptional sound quality. Best suited for users who will be using these headphones in front of the transmitter watching TV, but not ideal for those who like to move around the house while listening to your wireless headphones.
What’s in the Box?
Sony Wireless RF Headphone
Sony Transmitter Base Station
⅛ inch audio cable
Sony Rechargeable Battery for headphones
HeroFiber® Ultra Gentle Cleaning Cloth
Sony MDR-RF995RK In Summary
The Sony MDR-RF995RK isn’t going to be our top recommendation, but it is still a product that holds merit due to its affordable pricing, especially compared to the competition. The sound quality doesn’t astound but isn’t particularly bad either.
Over-Ear vs. In-Ear
The name is in the title when it comes to the styles of headphones. Over-ear headphones fit over the ears, with your ears inside the ear pads. You also get the on-ear fit, which means the earpads sit on the ears. Over-ear headphones are far more comfortable than on-ear and offer good isolation. Premium over-ear headphones will even have passive noise isolation, which means you can hear very little of the ambient noise around you.
In-ear headphones go inside the ear canal. Generally, these earbuds are connected to a cable. This cable could be a few millimeters thick or, as is the case with TV in ears, about a ¼ inch thick. The thick cable is flexible and can be bent to improve the comfort of the headphones.
For the hearing impaired, choosing between over-ear and in-ear is simply a matter of preference. In both cases, you’re bringing the audio closer to your ears, and thus you can hear better and more clearly.
For the general consumer, an over-ear or on-ear headphone is better. These headphones are easier to move around with and, in most cases, offer better sound quality than the in-ears. Most notably, over-ear and on-ear offer improved bass response.
How We Selected These Products
For this article, we wanted to showcase wireless headphones that work great for listening to the television but aren’t necessarily focused on the hearing impaired. These headphones were selected because they offer great sound quality, comfort, and reasonable latency in the case of Bluetooth selections.
We excluded products with too much noise leak, as these are typically impractical for most intended uses of TV headphones. We also considered costs, ensuring we covered options for all budgets.
Because of the advances in Bluetooth technology, we’ve made sure only to recommend products that have Bluetooth 5.0 or newer; this is mainly because older Bluetooth models are just not worth it these days. There are distinct benefits with distance and latency regarding newer Bluetooth versions.
Wireless Headphones for TV Buyers Guide (What To Know Before Buying)
This buyer’s guide will seek to provide you with everything you need to know about making an informed decision when purchasing a pair of TV headphones.
Latency is the most important discussion to be having when weighing out your options. If you’re using your wireless TV headphones just for music, latency will be far less of a problem for you. But when watching movies or television series, the visuals of the conversation can end up occurring out of sync with what you’re hearing.
This is because the signal from the TV takes longer to get to your ears. With music, you have no frame of reference with which to interpret the lag, so you don’t even know it’s there.
Latency is probably the biggest cause of wireless TV headphones being returned by customers. So before buying, make sure you are happy with the latency that your headphone’s wireless technology will provide.
If you’re sensitive to latency and find it challenging to watch shows when the audio is slightly out of sync with the visuals, we recommend that you opt for an RF headphone, as even though newer Bluetooth versions limit the latency, you are still unlikely to be fully satisfied with a lot of the options out there.
Be Aware Of Wireless Range
The range of your headphones’ wireless functionality should play a part in your decision-making. Some headphones do well at short distances, which is usually all that’s required for most bedroom setups. But if, for some reason, you tend to use your headphones at greater distances, keep in mind that you may be restricted by older Bluetooth versions.
Comfort Is Important
Since comfort is subjective, it’s challenging for us to make specific claims about a headphone’s comfort level. We may call out products that, by and large, offer comfort, but that doesn’t guarantee they will be comfortable with your ears.
Because we tend to watch TV for hours at a time, in many cases, it’s good to ensure that the wireless headphones you buy can provide regular use for extended periods without causing discomfort.
Most over-ear headphones will do quite well in this, though we’ve found some cheaper products can become painful with extended use. The products on our list all pass what we’d consider a good reputation for their comfort. When looking at earbuds, it becomes more complicated, as one’s ear shape greatly affects overall comfort.
While audio quality is usually where we dig deeper, with wireless headphones for TVs, it’s a little less of a vital topic. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t look for headphones that offer great quality; it’s just that the importance of having a perfectly balanced frequency response and what is usually referred to as a critical listening approach is less prominent than it is for bookshelf speakers, for instance. Where neutrality is typically the goal.
While we still like to see a nice deep bass response from TV headphones, which without, action movies can become quite boring, and while the treble is vital for maintaining clear dialogue while you watch, the more fun U or V-curve sound signatures can still hold weight with TV speakers.
Consider Your Hearing Needs
Not everyone who is looking for headphones for TV is looking for the same thing. Those without hearing problems have a wide range of options, and most settle for traditional wireless headphones that offer the low latency features you need in a pair of wireless TV headphones.
Those with hearing problems may feel disappointed by the performance of a traditional closed-back headphone style. While our list doesn’t feature many headphones strictly for the hard of hearing, we have included the TV Ears Original, which may suit your needs.
Bluetooth vs. RF Connectivity
Historically, we’ve always recommended staying away from Bluetooth headphones for TV. Instead, RF technology has traditionally been recommended because of how much less latency radio frequency signals have, thanks to the lack of analog-to-digital conversion. Although there is still latency, it’s so minimal that our eyes and ears cannot pick it up.
However, the past few years have changed a lot in the TV headphone market, and the release of Bluetooth 5.0 saw improvements in both range and latency. As it stands, we still recommend RF technology, but there are now a few good wireless Bluetooth headphones for TV on the market.
What we’re most excited about for this space, though, is the upcoming introduction of LE Audio, which is apparently arriving quite soon! We expect to see the entire wireless TV headphones market change once this technology is added to new audio products. The biggest benefit to LE Audio is the better latency performance. We may well see RF technology slowly start to get replaced by faster Bluetooth-driven technology.
Acceptable Audio Levels to Protect Your Hearing
If you have good hearing, you want to keep it that way. Listening to headphones at excessive levels and for an extended period can cause permanent hearing loss. The CDC has a great resource on how to look after your ears – here are some of their guidelines:
An acceptable or safe audio level is no more than 85dB. This is typically around 60% volume but will vary from headphone to headphone. If you need to listen to anything above this level just to hear clearly, you should probably get your hearing checked.
- At 95 dB – Hearing damage will occur after four hours of exposure per day.
- At 100 dB – Hearing damage will occur after two hours of exposure per day.
- At 105 dB – Hearing damage will occur after one hour of exposure per day.
- At 110 dB – Hearing damage will occur after 30 minutes of exposure per day.
- At 120+ dB – Damage occurs almost immediately.
Further to these audio levels, any bass or treble boost will cause hearing loss at that frequency. So in time, you could start to lose your hearing in a specific frequency range. Almost everyone loses some of the high frequencies as we get older. This makes it difficult to hear the intelligibility of dialogue especially. This is why you might purchase TV headphones later in life to hear the TV properly.
Assuming you will most likely lose this hearing from old age, you might want to start protecting your ears as much as you can now.