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Assistive Listening Devices

By March 30, 2021November 25th, 2021No Comments

Assistive Listening Devices

Do you know that hearing loss is not an all or nothing phenomenon?  There are many different types of hearing loss, and people show varying degrees of hearing at varying frequencies in both ears.

If you would like to learn more about the various ways we can help you improve your ability to hear better, please contact us today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about hearing aids and assistive listening devices.

The technology of hearing aids and assistive listening devices is designed to amplify sound and improve clarity.  It’s comfortable, discreet, and easy-to-use.  You will be able to hear better at work, at home, or anywhere else that matters most.


What are assistive listening devices?

Assistive listening devices are amplifiers that get sound into the ear. They separate sounds, particularly speech, from background noise. This improves what is known as the “speech to noise ratio.”


Why are assistive listening devices necessary?

Research indicates that people with a hearing impairment require more volume to hear what is going on compared to those without. This can be difficult for other people in the room, so an assistive listening device helps them at the perfect level of volume, without disturbing everyone else around.


Can assistive listening devices be used by some people who are deaf?

Assistive listening devices are used by patients with all degrees of hearing loss, from mild to profound. Hearing aid users and cochlear implant users can also use ALDs. Hearing aids and cochlear implants have their respective performance limitations which mean that they may not work in all situations. Assistive listening devices help people with a variety of hearing abilities to hear clearly.

It’s not really surprising that assistive listening devices are described as a “telescope for the ears” because they act by stretching the performance of hearing aids and cochlear implants. With ALDs the reach and effectiveness of hearing aids and cochlear implants are maximized.


Where Do People Use ALDs?

Assistive listening devices provide deaf or hard of hearing people with a way to hear more clearly. They do this by minimizing background noise, reducing the effect of distance between the sound and the person wearing it, and overriding poor acoustics like echo. People use these devices in many different places including entertainment venues, employment settings, educational institutions and even at their homes.


What Are The Types of ALDs?

Assistive devices can be used to help those with hearing loss communicate more effectively. This includes amplified telephones, hearing aid compatible phones and smartphones, television compatible devices, FM systems for public settings, inductive loop and alerting devices.  Each type of ALD has its own set of pros and cons.


Amplified telephones

The convenience of using an amplified phone is that you will never miss a call. These devices allow you to turn up the volume so our high-pitched sounds, which many people with hearing loss are missing out on. The ringtones can be amplified so it’s easier for those who have trouble hearing them to hear their phone ringing in noisy places or if they accidentally put it down on mute.


Hearing aid compatible phones

In an effort to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), manufacturers are required to make their phones compatible with hearing aids. Some of these companies include Apple and Samsung, who have been making strides in this area. One way they have accomplished this is by providing acoustic coupling for the phone speaker or a telecoil, which picks up sound from inside a hearing aid. This means that people who wear hearing aids can use their smartphones just like everyone else without having to fumble around and find out how to adjust certain settings on their devices.


Assistive listening devices for televisions

Imagine your favorite show is coming on and you can’t understand what’s going on. You could turn up the volume, but that might just make it worse or drive other people in the room crazy. Luckily, there are ways to watch TV without having to strain your hearing – with television amplified louder-speakers (TV ALS). These devices will give you a clearer sound so you don’t miss important scenes.


Alerting devices

Most ALDs help make listening easier, but some also help you stay connected to what is going on around you and improve your safety. These alerting devices rely on amplified sounds, visual cues and even vibrations to alert you to sounds in your environment.

Alerting devices include vibrating alarm clocks, doorbell alerts, flashing or vibrating smoke detectors, etc.

These devices are known to give users peace of mind even during those moments when they are not wearing hearing aids.


FM System

FM systems are assistive listening devices that are powered by radio broadcast technology. This type of ALD is usually used in educational settings because they offer more flexibility to allow mobility when used with body-worn transmitters. Newer FM systems use miniature receivers that can fit into a hearing aid.

Smaller receivers are not easily available in the market. You can get them through a hearing aid professional or an authorized hearing aid dispenser. Smaller FM receivers are more expensive than regular ones. It’s not also compatible with some FM systems because it uses a high frequency. If you are in Osseo, MN and are looking for an audiology clinic that can provide you with assistive listening devices, visit us at Hearing Health Clinic.


Infrared Systems

Infrared systems are advanced light-based technology that guarantees privacy because it does not pass through walls. They are appropriate for court proceedings which require confidentiality, as well as venues of entertainment such as cinemas and theaters, or locations where television is being listened to live.


Inductive Loop Systems

Wide area loop systems are a convenience to groups of t-coil hearing aid users because those users do not require body worn receivers. Loop systems can also be used by non-hearing aid users through use of a headphone and inductive loop receiver.


What Are The Basic Parts of an Assistive Listening Device?

There are three components of an ALD: a microphone, a transmission technology, and a device for receiving the signal and bringing the sound to the ear.  Understanding this is important in order to identify any potential issues with one or more of these components so that they can be addressed before it affects how well your hearing aid performs.


What Are the Differences in Listening Couplers?

There are a number of listening devices that can make it easier to hear. However, the best type for you will depend on how your hearing aids work and what’s going on around you. For example, if there is no one else in the room with you, you might want to use headphones or earphones that go into your ears so that only sound from these devices enters your ears. If other people in the room have hearing aids as well, then a neckloop may be more helpful because it transmits sound through airwaves instead of vibrations like an earphone would do. Your choice will also depend on whether there is background noise like traffic or machinery nearby – or even music being played during an event where people need to speak clearly over all kinds of background.


What are the best ways to listen to sound with a hearing aid?

At Hearing Health Clinic, we make it a priority to discuss all of the listening options available and help you find one that suits your needs.

Cochlear implant users may use a patch cord to connect an ALS receiver directly to their speech processor.

The cochlear implant is inserted into the inner ear and replaces some of the hearing sensation that was lost due to injury or disease. The process can be complicated, but it can also be simplified with a special patch cord plugging into the sound processor on one end and connecting via wire to the microphone coil in your ear which transmits sounds from your environment through vibrations in your skull bone. Some people prefer not having wires protruding out of their head so they wear neckloops instead, looping around their ears for optimal reception as if you were wearing two small hearing aids side-by-side.


What About 1-on-1 Personal Amplifiers?

Assistive Listening Devices are personal amplifiers that are used in face-to-face conversations to increase volume. They are boxes about the size of a deck of cards with both a microphone and listening cord attached. The talker holds one, and they can be held close or relatively far from the sound source.


Are ALDs Required?

Some people are disabled in ways that make it difficult to hear. This is why there are designated areas for those with auditory limitations–known as wide area ALSs (also known as WALs). These spaces can be found at places like theaters and schools. The ADA also makes sure that receivers are free and specifies how many receivers should be available.


Assistive Listening Devices – Osseo, MN

If you are wearing hearing aids and are tired of the constant static sound, there is a shockingly large array of ALDs on the market to choose from. These devices can be made to work with certain hearing aids or they can stand alone and produce great results. Today, smartphones are also becoming their own unique ALDs when paired with modern hearing aids that have Bluetooth capabilities.