Understanding Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices - often referred to as ALDs - help improve your hearing in different places, and can be used to enhance the performance of your hearing aids. As a hearing instrument specialist, we have lots of experience dealing with these different devices. So, we want to help you by explaining the different assistive listening devices and how they work.
How do assistive listening devices work?
For most situations, hearing aids help you go about your daily life. They amplify the sounds around you, so you have the ability to hear once more. However, there are certain scenarios where hearing aids alone don’t give you the power you need to hear specific things.
This is where ALDs come into play as they support your hearing aids and make it easier for you to hear in different environments. There are plenty of times where you will find an ALD very helpful:
- When you’re on the phone
- When you’re watching a movie or at a concert
- When you’re in a lecture theatre
- When you’re watching TV at home
- When you’re at a kiosk at the bank
Different people may need assistive listening devices in different situations - it depends on your particular hearing loss. There are lots of different ALDs out there, and each one helps with specific problems.
If you have trouble using your hearing aids in public places, then FM systems are here to help. These systems are wireless, and they ensure that sound is delivered directly into your hearing aids via radio waves. They work by taking the speech signals and blocking out the background noise around them. So, all you end up hearing are the words someone is speaking. As such, it’s much easier for you to understand speech and pay attention.
FM systems are most effective when you’re in classrooms, lecture theatres, restaurants, public events, or even in your car.
Induction loops are an effective ALD for people with t-coils in their hearing aids. Essentially, an electromagnetic field is used to help move the sound to your ears. You can get wearable induction loop systems to improve your hearing in noisy environments, but there are also ones that exist in rooms.
For example, banks will often have an induction loop system to help you hear what the person behind the counter is saying. In rooms like this, you just have to turn your hearing aid to the right setting to improve your hearing.
You can get telephones that are designed to be assistive listening devices. These phones let you turn the volume up to a level that helps you hear better. They can sometimes be used without hearing aids, but you can still use yours if you want.
Think of this as a sort of portable amplifier for you to use when you’re on the phone. It amplifies the level of speech and makes it easier for you to hear certain pitches. So, each phone call is clearer than it used to be, making your life much more comfortable.
These days, you can get hearing aids that call upon Bluetooth technology as an assistive listening device. You can connect your hearing aid to compatible Bluetooth devices, and the sound from them plays directly into your ears. It’s like wearing a pair of headphones; the sound is clear, and you don’t have to deal with background noises.
Some hearing aids are ‘Made for iPhone’ which means you can connect them to your mobile device, making it easier to take calls on your smartphone. You can also use Bluetooth connectivity on TVs to stream the audio straight to your hearing aids as well.
Infrared systems work the same as FM systems. The difference is that they don’t transmit radio waves, they transmit sound via infrared light instead. The benefit of this ALD is that the sound can’t pass through any walls. So, they’re good in situations that require privacy - like a doctor’s appointment.
Contact Integrity Hearing Solutions to learn more
We know that the idea of assistive listening devices can be confusing. When you get your hearing aids, you assume that they’re all you need to combat hearing loss. Our experienced hearing instrument specialist can help you learn more about ALDs and how they work. Book an appointment with us, and we’ll walk you through the different options and figure out which one will benefit you the most.