When you live with hearing loss, hearing aids can help support you through the day. They amplify the sounds you can’t hear aiding in communication throughout your day and alerting you to sounds you may have otherwise could have missed. Hearing aids are remarkable, but they don’t restore your hearing to its original state. Sometimes you need help with specific instances in hearing. This is where Assistive Listening Devices can enhance your listening experience. There are a wide variety of assistive listening devices (ALDs) and assistive listening systems (ALSs) that fill the gap in both private and public settings. Let’s explore some of the most common types.
Speaking over the phone is one of the greatest challenges for many with hearing loss. Important information is lost due to distortion over the line and the loss of visual cues, which many rely on.
For a more nuanced experience over the phone, many phones offer real-time captioning so you can read what is being said while many hearing aids offer Bluetooth compatibility to wirelessly stream sound from your phone directly into your hearing aids. This can provide clear sound, which avoids ambient distractions. Many smartphone apps now offer captioning which provides talk to text translation in real-time.
Assistive listening devices for televisions
One of the most common signs of hearing loss is constant struggles over the television with family and even friends. You need the sound turned up to hear while others find the volume gratingly loud. Even hearing aid users can still struggle with this issue. To solve this problem the are many options available.
Options such as TV Ears® is an affordable wireless headset with personal volume control which is plugged directly into your TV’s earphone socket. These can be effective even without the use of hearing aids.
With Bluetooth connectivity becoming available with more and more modules of hearing aids you can pair your television to your hearing aids, to receive the TV audio directly in your ear. This allows you to listen at a safe volume while saving stress from your nightly TV routine.
Hearing loss can be dangerous when there is an emergency. Many alarms rely on sound to alert people of an emergency, leaving hearing impaired people at risk. For instance, it is recommended that hearing aid users wear them from the moment they wake up till the time they go to sleep only to be removed when bathing or near water. Any emergency happening while sleeping or bathing could go missed. Many alarm devices rely on amplified sounds, visual cues, and even vibrations to alert you to sounds in your environment. This includes vibrating alarm clocks, doorbells that employ flashing lights or vibrating and flashing smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors.
ALS in Public Settings
Perhaps one area where hearing is the most challenging even with the use of hearing aids is when in public settings. Competing conversations and distraction noise can make hearing confusing and overwhelming in large auditoriums, centers of public transport, airports, churches, theaters, and more. ALS refers to system-wide technology which allows hearing aids users to wear. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), most public spaces must offer some type of assistive listening system. Types of ALSs recognized by the ADA include:
- Hearing loops: When a public speaker talks into a microphone or an announcement is made over a loudspeaker, it can be transmitted via an electromagnetic signal to telecoil compatible technology. Rooms with telecoil consist of a copper wire installed around the room allowing the signal to be received from any point surrounded in the space.
- FM or DM systems: These use radio frequency to transmit sound in classrooms or professional environments. A speaker speaks into a microphone and the signal is sent using a low-power FM frequency radio transmission to a neck loop worn by an individual who requires enhance hearing.
- Infrared systems (IR:) This system uses invisible infrared light waves to transmit speech or music from a public address or sound system to an IR receiver. Because this technology cannot travel through walls it is used often in banks or other settings where discretion is needed.
If you have hearing needs that aren’t being addressed by your hearing aids don’t become discouraged. We are here to help. Schedule a consultation and we can explore all your options to enhance your hearing.