People with hearing loss may benefit from hearing aids, assistive listening devices (ALD) or both. Hearing aids must be fitted and programmed by an audiologist.
ALDs can benefit people with hearing loss in activities of daily life. An ALD might increase the volume of your telephone, alarm clock, television, or amplify a speaker’s voice in a lecture hall or classroom.
There are many assistive listening devices available, and it is important that you become educated about the different options available. Your audiologist is a great resource for learning about what devices will work best for you, and our counseling and outreach staff are available for one to one consultations and trainings as needed.
Common Devices Our Clients Use
An FM system is a personal listening device that consists of a transmitter, worn by the speaker, and a receiver, worn by the listener. The speaker may wear a lapel microphone and the sound of their voice is transmitted directly into the listener’s hearing aid, or into head phones connected to the receiver. These systems are ideal in classrooms, lectures halls and meetings and can also be used in large auditoriums or theaters.
There are special phones available that have both volume and tone adjustment available. These phones may also have a flashing light to accompany the ring. Some people use in line amplifiers which can be plugged into the cord of a normal telephone. These amplifiers increase the volume of the earpiece of the phone.
CTAP, the California Telecommunication Access Program, offers free amplified phones to ALL California residents with hearing loss.
Pocket Talkers/Personal Amplification Device
A personal amplification device is a compact amplification system that consists of a hand held microphone and usually connects to head phones. Pocket talkers are helpful in small group discussions, at doctor’s appointments, and for one on one discussion.
These ALDs can be used in the home to amplify TV sets, but can also be used in bigger settings such as theaters or auditoriums. Sound is transmitted using infrared light waves. The listener can control the volume using their receiver, so the TV does not have to be turned up louder, only the listening device.
There is a wide range of home alert and alarm systems designed to accommodate people with hearing loss. For example, there are systems that connect the sound of a door bell to flashing lights in the home, and wireless systems that activate a buzzer the user can wear in their pocket. There are alarm clocks that feature amplified buzzers and also have powerful vibrations to wake you up.
Join us for HEAR U: ALD Classes!
Hear U is a series of classes, provided by Audiologists at the Hearing and Speech Center. Come in to learn about Assistive Listening Device (ALD) technology. We will have hands-on demonstrations of technology that helps you in hard-to-hear situations. We are also reviewing apps that can help you communicate better or that act as an ALD. There are many apps designed on the market for all your audiology needs, including tinnitus, aural rehabilitation and captioning.