Assistive and alerting devices may be used in conjunction with hearing aids or separately depending on the individual’s needs. Our Audiologist will consider and inform patients of these options if warranted.
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) are amplifiers that bring speech sounds directly into the ear.
There are five different types of ALDs:
1. Personal Amplifiers
These systems are made up of a box that has a microphone and a headset that plugs into it. This is for individuals who are hard of hearing but do not have hearing aids. They are helpful for one on one situations where the speaker talks into the microphone as their voice goes straight into their headphones cutting out background noise. These systems are relatively inexpensive at only a couple of hundred dollars. However, these systems are not ideal for hearing from a distance or useful if you need to move around.
2. FM Systems
The frequency modulation (FM) system uses radio broadcast technology to bring sounds you want to hear directly to your hearing aids or a set of headphones. The user wears the receiver and the speaker wears the transmitter microphone. It is a wireless system that allows the individual who is hard of hearing to hear speech at a distance or in the presence of background noise. These systems are often used with children in classrooms.
3. Infrared Systems
Infrared systems are like FM systems except that they transmit sounds using light waves rather than radio waves. They are usually used to watch tv or in difficult listening situations like conference rooms. However, they signal can be affected by sunlight or any object that goes between the transmitter and receiver and it is not portable.
4. Induction Loop Systems
This system has a wire loop that can be used in a space to help a number of individuals hear the speech signal using an electromagnetic field that is picked up by the telecoil in their hearing aid or a receiving device. It is inexpensive and versatile as the user is not physically connected to the system. These systems are often used in churches, theatres, airports or at home.
Hearing aids today have Bluetooth technology that allows the hearing aid user to stream speech or music from their cell phones or other electronic devices directly to their hearing aids.
This technology includes monitoring and alerting systems for the deaf or for the hard of hearing when they are not able to wear their hearing aids, such as at bedtime. It helps them stay connected and safe in their home. These devices use visual, vibrotactile or auditory signals to alert the individual. Some commonly used alerting devices are incorporated in alarm clocks, smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors, baby monitors and door bells and phone systems.