Macbeth at the Harold Pinter: Information on Headphone Use

This production of Macbeth uses binaural stereo to create a 3D soundscape. Wearing headphones is a critical aspect of the show, and some of the dialogue will not be audible without them.

A pair of wired on-ear headphones is installed on each audience member’s seat and in wheelchair spaces. These headphones are very lightweight with foam ear-pads for comfort. The headphones do not have a volume control and all headphones are at the same volume. Our sound engineers ensure that the volume remains at a balanced and safe volume. If you have a sensitivity to loud volumes we can provide a system that can be turned down manually. The ear pads are regularly changed and cleaned.

Stereo sound and on-ear headphones may not suit everyone’s hearing needs. A sound check plays in the auditorium before the show starts allowing you to test out what works for you. We have a range of alternative options to help everyone get the best experience of the show, and we have a team in the auditorium to help find the best solution for you from the list below.

There is no need to pre-book alternative listening options, but if you have any concerns or specific requirements other than those available below, please let the box office know in advance. We advise you to take your seats at least 15-20 minutes before the start of the performance to ensure we have time to make sure everything is working correctly.

Alternative listening options

Over Ear Headphones – If you normally wear a behind-the-ear hearing aid, we can provide over ear headphones like these. In most cases, this is the best solution as the hearing aid microphone is encompassed within the headphones and so will pick up the sound without any adjustment to the hearing aid being needed.

Hearing Aids with direct input – Some hearing aids have provision for a direct sound feed via 3.5mm mini-jack. We can provide a standard 3.5mm stereo mini jack socket to plug this into. Direct input cables are bespoke to different hearing aids, so please bring your cable with you if you have one.

Induction loop support – We can provide an induction loop system, which is worn around the neck. However, induction loop sound is often not always of optimum quality, so audience members might prefer to use other means of listening where possible.

Bluetooth transmitter – Some hearing aids can connect to Bluetooth, and we can provide a personal Bluetooth transmitter to connect to your hearing aid. Bluetooth connections are typically quite high quality but can introduce a small delay to the audio. Our team will know how to set our personal Bluetooth transmitters, but please brush up on how to use the Bluetooth function on your hearing aid to pair to a device. This process can take some time so please arrive half an hour before the performance begins to allow time for this. Whilst some hearing aids can connect to a phone using Bluetooth, not all of them are capable of connecting to a Bluetooth transmitter - please check with your manufacturer.

Volume booster – A set of headphones with a volume booster can be provided.

Independent volume control - The above options can also be used with a volume control that can allow the volume to be reduced in the left and/or right ears separately.

Mono dialogue enhanced mix - All of the above options can be provided with either a binaural stereo mix; or a mono mix where the sound is identical in the left and right headphones. The mono mix has the music and sound effects at a slightly quieter volume to allow the dialogue to be more clearly perceived.

For patrons with mysophobia, a sealed bag with a pair of sanitised wireless headphones and receiver pack can be provided. It might be possible to bring your own headphones so long as they have a TRS plug – but we can’t guarantee they will work. A TRRS plug is not compatible with our systems.


Was this article helpful?