Why Silent Disco Headphones are the Party Solution of Choice for the Special-Needs Community

Why do people who work with autism spectrum disorder call silent disco the ultimate party solution?

Every year, we do a silent disco party for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) which supports over 90 special hockey teams across the United States.

Hundreds of people from all walks of life attend; the players, family members, friends and coaches.

Every year we marvel at how silent disco brings such a diverse group together, and it does so in a way that a DJ or band with traditional loudspeakers never could.

Often people who have not experienced the wonders of silent disco headphones assume that headphones isolate dancers from each other. They do the opposite with any audience.

The headphone aspect of silent discos actually make the events more social.

With the special-needs community, the headphones bring people together in an extra dramatic fashion that simply cannot be beat by any other form of entertainment!

How do the headphones create this magic of togetherness and celebration?

In this post, we take a closer look at how the unique attributes of a headphone party are tailor-made for this demographic.

Silent disco headphones are perfect for the special needs community and for guests on the autism spectrum.
Silent Disco headphones are their entertainment medium of choice for end of season parties.

We will start be saying that our headphones are thoroughly disinfected between rentals.

In the age of Covid-19, we use EPA approved disinfectant products and techniques to keep all of our guests safe.

And now, back to headphone benefits:

Headphones accommodate for hearing sensitivities that can be found in autistic guests and others.

In the special needs community, hearing sensitivity is common. They may love the music but feel uncomfortable with the volume levels found at a large party.

If one group wants the music loud and another group doesn’t, it is difficult to party together.

With silent disco, everyone wears headphones in order to hear the music.

Each of the headphones have their own volume wheel that each user can adjust at will.

Thanks to the volume adjustment, people that want the music loud can dance right next to the people that want the music soft. Everyone has their own volume.

The headphones also keep the volume constant. They block out the sudden and uncomfortable volume changes that come from celebrating crowds at parties.

All of the guests at a silent disco are more comfortable and relaxed because any hearing sensitivities are soothed by the individual volume controls on each of the headphones.

The end result is that the headphones allow everyone to participate more comfortably with their own customized volume level.

The headphones help ADHD sufferers to focus by blocking out external audio distractions.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms are common in the special needs community and the headphones help these guests to maintain their focus.

Silent disco headphones block out distracting noises, keep the music in the forefront and the volume constant.

This helps to keep everybody together and focused on the same celebration. Without the headphones, some of the participants would get distracted and not be able have as much fun together.

Again, the headphones allow everyone to participate and to be together in ways that would simply not happen with loud music blasting from traditional loudspeakers.

Ultra adjustable headbands on our fully disinfected headphones accommodate all head sizes.

Heads come in all shapes and sizes in any group, but this can be extra important with this demographic and broad age range.

Silent disco headphones are highly adjustable so they fit just right and won’t fall off during dancing.

In every party, we get some dancers that really get into the music. This is especially true with our special-needs guests. Some of them have dance moves that just won’t quit!

Even if the headphones stay on with extra vigorous dancing, if they are too tight, that is just as bad.

The ear pads are very soft and comfortable so they don’t feel too tight even after an extended amount of wearing time.

The importance of everyone feeling included cannot be overstated. It is the headphones make it happen.

The ability to switch channels enhances the feeling of control for the autistic guest.

We use three-channel versions of the headphones which allow party guests to choose between three different songs at any giving time.

Everyone likes to have a sense of control over their environment and the special-needs community is no exception.

So they not only have the ability to control their volume, but they also have the ability to control which song they are listening to with just the flick of a switch on the headphones.

This control over what is happening inside their headphones makes the guests more comfortable, more confident, and in turn, more able to party together with the whole group.

The headphones give the feeling of inclusiveness and individual comfort at the same time.

In other words, the headphone wearing party guest has the best of both worlds.

As an individual, the headphones make them feel safe and in control of their environment.

As a member of the group, the headphones help them to feel more included and therefore, able to participate more fully within the group.

In summary, how do the headphones create this magic of togetherness and celebration for the special-needs community?

Every guest feels more comfortable, more in control and more included. From there it is is so much easier for them to celebrate and have fun together.

Ready to rent our fully disinfected silent disco headphones for your next event?

See our prices here.

See our rental process here.

For Silent Disco, does it matter what device I use to play the music?

The short answer is that any device that will play music will suffice. You connect it to the transmitter and you are ready to go.

The long answer is that some devices will connect differently to your transmitter, others will offer better sound quality, and still others will be easier to use for manipulating your playlist during the event.

This blog post is dedicated to clarifying the long answer:

Table of Contents for this post

Note to self: If using my cell phone to play my Silent Disco music, remember to use “Do not disturb mode” to stop all but critical notifications.

Just wanted to throw that in. Now we can get started.

How different devices connect to the Silent Disco Transmitter:

The are two choices for connectivity are an audio cable or Bluetooth.

Bluetooth connection:

For the new iPhones, iPads, and even some of the new iOS laptops, Bluetooth is the option of choice for the typical user. It is wireless, ubiquitous, and easy.

When you sign up to rent from us, we ask you what you are going to use to supply the music so that we can provide you with the correct wires or Bluetooth capability.

When you need Bluetooth connectivity, we automatically send you the TX-60RF transmitter because that is maximized for Bluetooth connectivity.

The user presses the pairing button until the light flashes red and blue, it shows up on their Bluetooth device list, they select it, and they are ready to go.

TX 60RF Silent Disco Transmitter maximized for BlueTooth
The TX-60RF is maximized for BlueTooth Connectivity.
Audio Cable Connection:

When you rent from us, we provide common connection adapters with the rental.

Renters who use a PC Laptop, Android phone, DJ Controller or Audio Mixer to provide the music to the transmitters have the option of using an Audio Cable to connect to the transmitter.

Many of the PCs and Androids still have a headphone/Aux out. In that case, you can simply take the audio cable that I provide and connect from the headphone/Aux out straight to the input of the transmitter.

We provide an Aux cables for you if you are one of these users.

Professional DJ controllers and Audio Mixers typically don’t have a BlueTooth audio output option. They have an RCA out as one of the master output options.

We provide an RCA cables for you if you are one of these users.

When you need Audio Cable connectivity, we automatically send you the TX-50RF transmitter because that is maximized for Audio Cable connectivity.

The TX-60RF is maximized for BlueTooth Connectivity.

So, whether you need to connect with Bluetooth or with an audio cable, we have you covered!

How Sound Quality is affected by your connection/device

Bluetooth has been improving in quality and really sounds superb but an audio cable is slightly better.

The most obvious challenge with Bluetooth from a cell phone is that the user likes to keep it in her pocket for security (who wouldn’t?) and then accidentally walks farther that 30 feet away from the transmitter causing the music to drop out.

Do I need to mention that your phone’s notifications will come right through the transmitter if you don’t turn them off? (I recommend using the “Do not disturb mode” to stop all but critical notifications)

As mentioned above (and only the audiophiles will notice), the sound quality of an audio cable is slightly better than Bluetooth so if have the choice and you don’t mind leaving your device near the transmitter, you should use the Aux cable.

BTW-We don’t provide the dongle made by Apple that gives you a headphone jack from the lightning connector.

If you are using a DJ Controller or Audio Mixer, you won’t have Bluetooth, so you will use the RCA audio cables to go from your RCA master out (sometimes called “tape out”) to your transmitter.

Pro tip: For extra audio quality if you are using a laptop, consider using a USB digital to analogue audio converter. (USB to 3.5 mm/Aux) This gives you an added boost in quality. We don’t supply these but for those of you that really want to go the extra mile it is something you might want to invest in.

USB digital to analogue audio converter. USB to 3.5mm/Aux

To summarize sound quality, the Bluetooth connection sounds superb, but the Aux cable or RCA cable sounds even better.

Ease of Use

If you are streaming a pre-made playlist, ease of use won’t matter because you just set-it-and-forget-it. You are not really ‘using’ the software. You are just letting it play.

If you are actively building or manipulating a playlist during the gig, then ease of use becomes a big deal.

Phones are readily available but are only as easy to use as the app that you are playing the music with. The same is true with tablets.

In general, you will get much more functionality and ease of use with a DJ program on a laptop. (Especially so if it is connected with your DJ controller. )

Obviously you will have more screen real-estate, but most importantly, DJ programs are easy to use and you can do so much more.

Most of our clients stream a ready-made playlist or make only minor adjustments to their list during the party. Doing this on a phone is easy and quick.

It is only if you are actively mixing music and/or making playlist adjustments after or during every song that you need DJ software on a laptop.

Actively mixing music in real time for a really hopping party is an exacting art and not something you want to consider doing on a phone or tablet.

In closing:
  • Whichever device you use, our systems are plug-and-play
  • When you rent from us, we ask you what devices you are using to play music
  • We take that information and provide you with the correct connections

Ready to Rent?

Email me to get a quote, ask questions, and/or to get started with the rental process. djjohnnyonly@gmail.com

How would we play the music so that it can transmit to the headphones? Can we use bluetooth?

Short Answer: You can play the music or stream a playlist on any device capable of doing so, and yes, you can use Bluetooth.

You can use Bluetooth to connect your device to the Silent Disco transmitters that I provide and they, in turn, transmit your music to your dancers wearing the Silent Disco headphones.

Long Answer:

You play your Silent Disco music (or stream a playlist) on a device such as your cell phone, tablet, or computer. You connect that device to one of the three transmitters that I provide. That transmitter, in turn, transmits the music to the Silent Disco headphones using a short-range FM type of signal.

If you have professional DJ equipment, you connect the main output of your controller/mixer to the transmitter with an RCA cable (or an adapter to RCA).

If you are using personal equipment like your phone, tablet or computer, you connect your device directly to the transmitter.

We recommend using an aux cable (3.5mm) from your headphone jack into the transmitter that I provide but you can also use Bluetooth.

The aux cable gives you the highest quality and most reliable signal but many new phones, tablets or computers don’t have headphone jacks these days. So with those, you would connect to the transmitter via Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth gives you extremely high quality. Just remember to turn off notifications so that incoming texts or calls don’t interrupt your dancers.

When you fill out our contact form as a first step in renting from us, we ask what devices you will be using to play your music. With that information, we make sure we send you the correct cables and adapters.

Bluetooth is only used to connect your personal music playing device to one of the transmitters. The transmitters use short-range FM signals to transmit the music to the headphones.

Bluetooth typically extends only 30 feet or so, but by using an FM signal, the transmitters are able to send their signal to your silent disco headphone wearers for a distance of 300 meters, which can be a city block or more. 

Remember that we send you a three channel Silent Disco system.

Three channel Silent Disco means that we send you three transmitters and in order to fill all three channels, you will do the above process three times -once for each transmitter.

You want to have three different playlists or three different DJs playing simultaneously. Each has their own transmitter which corresponds to one of the channels on the headphones. The headphone-wearing-dancers can switch their headphones to a different channel at anytime in order to change which song/playlist or DJ they are listening to.

The headphones will light up with either red, blue, or green according to which channel (transmitter) their selector switch is set to.

Can I Have Dance Music Playing From Loudspeakers During A Silent Disco?

In general, this is a bad idea.

People usually suggest this idea because they want the non-headphone wearers to have fun too. They don’t realize how much fun Silent Disco is to watch. But, here is the thing: Silent Disco is only fun to watch in silence.

When there is only silence, it is incredible to watch the people dancing to (seemingly) no music. It is a crazy fun to be NOT wearing the headphones at a silent party because it LOOKS so weird!

But it only looks weird if you can’t hear music. The silence creates cognitive dissonance that is hilarious. By having audible music playing for your non-headphone wearing guests, you are depriving them of a really good time. 

Audible music coming from loudspeakers takes away from the headphone wearers because some of it bleeds through the headphones.

Don’t get me wrong; Our headphones do provide sound isolation (some call it noise cancellation) but it is only due to the headphones covering the ear. In other words it is not much.

The headphone wearers will only hear a little bit of the loudspeakers but it will be enough to diminish the experience.

Now there is nothing wrong with having a small speaker playing quiet background music while the headphones are being used.
The wearers won’t hear that and it won’t disturb them. . But if you are having a DJ with big speakers play music at any sort of volume that DJ’s usually play- that will ruin the headphone experience. 

There is nothing worse than hearing two songs at the same time.   -Also, remember that Big speakers used by DJ’s also provide knee shaking bass that people actually “Feel” in their body.  The headphones don’t have that. So, even if the headphone wearers don’t hear the high frequencies from the big loudspeakers, they will feel the low frequencies from the big loudspeakers and again that will cause a significant decrease in any pleasure the headphone wearers are feeling.  

Another important aspect of the Silence is that it motivates people to try the headphones.

They want to hear what everyone else is hearing. They don’t want to miss out. And if they have their own audible music from loudspeakers, that pressure to put on the headphones is taken away.

In closing: There is nothing wrong with a regular DJ just playing loudspeakers.  I do that for a living. There is nothing wrong with Silent Disco, but it does require silence. 

Loud and silent simply don’t mix.

There is definitely something wrong with trying mixing the two party formats.   It is all around a totally bad idea.

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