Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids and cochlear implants play a key role in helping people with hearing loss communicate better. Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are another set of hearing solutions that may provide better hearing and can even provide benefit to people who don’t have diagnosed hearing loss.
ALDs may enhance one-on-one conversations. Assistive listening devices can also capture nearby sounds while filtering some level of background noise. ALDs include FM devices, alerting devices, amplifiers, and personal devices that serve as additional equipment or accessory to hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Assistive Listening Devices VS Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are fitted by audiologists or hearing care specialists and are fine-tuned to ensure that a person’s specific hearing requirements are boosted to the exact frequencies and pitches needed. Meanwhile, assistive listening devices generally work as amplifiers, making things louder, regardless of the volume, pitch, or frequency.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices
Generally, there are five types of assistive listening devices – audio induction, infrared system, FM system, personal amplified system, and Bluetooth systems. The right assistive listening device for you will depend on your hearing loss (if there is any) and where you need help with communication.
Audio Induction or Hearing Loop
Hearing loops or audio induction loops are a special type of sound system for people with hearing aids. Hearing loops provide magnetic, wireless signals that are picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to “T- Coil” setting.
Hearing loops help hearing aid wearers hear sounds more clearly by cutting or reducing the background noise. For example, when one is at home, a hearing aid wearer could fit and use a loop system to hear sounds directly from the television.
Infrared listening systems use light waves to send sounds across the room. Infrared systems work by changing the sounds into light and sending them to a receiver. The receiver then turns the light waves back into sound. An infrared receiver can be used with a hearing aid or worn alone.
FM stands for frequency modulation and uses radio waves to transmit sound signals to the listener. FM systems are special wireless devices that help people hear better in noisy listening environments. This type of ALD is usually used in conjunction with hearing aids but can also be used as a standalone device for people with normal hearing.
Personal Amplified System
Personal amplification devices or personal amplification systems offer many similar benefits to hearing aids at a fraction of the cost. As the name implies, personal amplification devices may amplify sounds but cannot adequately address other components of hearing loss such as distortion, feedback, or occlusion.
Bluetooth Listening Devices
Just as today’s numerous gadgets are equipped with Bluetooth technology, so are many modern assistive listening devices. Bluetooth listening devices receive and amplify audio from tablets, smartphones, and any other Bluetooth-enabled device so that users can hear more conveniently and efficiently.
Assistive Listening Devices FAQs
What is the most commonly used assistive listening device?
Hearing loops are the most commonly used assistive listening device and the most user-friendly as well. They are the crowd favorite because they can be used by simply switching the devices to the telecoil program and the user will automatically receive sound directly to their ears.
Why are assistive listening devices necessary?
Assistive listening devices can help supplement hearing aids by providing clearer communication in some environments. ALDs can also help people with greater degrees of hearing loss by alerting them to sounds and situations that may not be picked up under adverse conditions or when the hearing aids are not in use.
Can assistive listening devices take the place of hearing aids?
Assistive listening devices can be used with or without hearing aids. However, ALDs cannot be used to replace hearing aids, especially if the hearing loss is at moderate to severe levels.
Assistive Listening Devices | Cary, NC
Continuous innovations in technology have paved the way for various hearing solutions, including assistive listening devices. ALDs are helpful on their own, but they can also enhance the benefits of hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Cary Audiology offers a wide range of assistive listening devices that can be paired not only with hearing aids and cochlear implants but with smart devices as well.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation!