Untreated hearing loss has a negative effect on quality of life. Individuals struggling to hear have a hard time connecting with loved ones, staying focused at work, and even staying safe on the road. Hearing aids are modern marvels that will help you hear in every situation. Whether you’re having dinner with the family or attending a work conference, hearing devices will help you hear clearly. Along with hearing aids, assistive listening devices (ALDs) can provide additional support, and provide a complete solution to hearing loss.
Assistive Listening Devices
ALDs are designed to help you hear in a variety of situations. Each person’s hearing loss is unique, and your hearing needs will be different than your neighbors. ALDs are a great tool to fill in any gaps you may have in hearing, and help you hear in no matter where you are. Most ALDs are compatible with your hearing aids, and will help you hear in-person conversations, on the phone, and in places you often struggle to hear.
Many modern hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled devices, meaning you can use some of your everyday technology as assistive devices. For example, you can connect your hearing aids to your Bluetooth enabled TV or computer, and watch your favorite programs with the audio streaming right to your ears. Connecting your smartphone to your hearing aids works in the same way, and you can talk on the phone, listen to music, or even hear navigation directions right to your ears. This technology lets you use your hearing aids like wireless headphones, and you’ll be able to hear clearly, even if there’s background noise in the room.
Hearing on the Phone
You may not have a smartphone or hearing aids with Bluetooth technology, and there are a number of ALDs designed to help you hear on the phone. You can replace your home phone with a wireless or corded phone that works just like your old phone, but will help you hear conversations clearly. These phones will amplify sounds more than a regular phone, and you can adjust the tone to help you hear consonant sounds more clearly. Phones are equipped with caller ID, large buttons, advanced speakerphone options, or even a headset, as well as a louder ringtone, and a flashing light indicator. Other phone ALDs include phones with large screens that provide talk-to-text features to help you understand the words you didn’t quite hear.
Another common assistive listening device is an FM system. To hear clearly in challenging listening environments, you can place a mic near the sound you want to focus on. This could be the person speaking during a presentation, your TV or computer, or even in the center of the table during a boardroom meeting. The mic pics up these sounds and sends them directly to your hearing aids, so you’ll have an easier time tuning out background noise, and focusing on what you want to hear.
Personal Sound Amplification Device
Another ALD that’s similar to the FM system is a personal amplification device that can be carried in your pocket. This device is great for listening to conversations in places with a lot of background noise. This very portable device will amplify the sounds closest to you, while reducing background noise. It will help you focus on the sound of the person talking in front of you, and reduce the sound of voices that are further away. You can even place the device in front of the person speaking, or by your TV speakers, and easily focus on what you want to hear.
Many hearing aids come with T-coil technology, or a small piece of copper wiring in the hearing device. Large venues such as concert halls, classrooms, auditoriums, meeting rooms, lecture halls, and even churches, often have loop systems installed in the walls. You can turn on the T-coil program on your devices, and wirelessly connect your hearing aids to the loop system. This will send the audio from the PA system directly to your ears! Regardless of where you’re sitting in the auditorium, you’ll be able to clearly hear everything happening on stage.
If you’re struggling to hear clearly in certain situations, explore your options for hearing aid compatible assistive listening devices, and easily hear all the sounds you’re straining to hear.