Hearing loss and impairment is something roughly half of the citizens of the United States struggle with on some level. For some; it is a minor inconvenience related to specific sounds, while for others it is a major loss of hearing or total deafness. In either case, this condition can range from annoying, or debilitating at times. Although hearing loss can be a struggle, we can regain that hearing ability again. All you need to do this is a simple assistive listening device or system.
What is an ALS?
An ALS (or sometimes called an “ALD”) is an “Assistive Listening System or Device.” These devices use various technologies to make it easier to hear things – speech in most cases. They work by amplifying some sounds over others; They increase the desired sounds and decrease undesired sounds or “noise”.
Should I get an ALS/ALD?
According to recent research – most hearing-impaired individuals need a different of 15 to 25 decibels (over noise) to be able to hear something as well as someone with “normal” hearing. However – this same increase could be annoying, painful, or distracting to others who do not suffer from the same problem. An ALS would effectively allow an individual raise the volume of something (like a television) for themselves without raising it for everyone else. Users can enjoy multimedia entertainment and news with their family, keep private phone conversations private, and just generally improve their listening experiences in a variety of scenarios. An ALS can lessen background noise, remove echo or other acoustic distractions, and minimize the effect distance has on the ability to hear sound.
Who can use an ALS?”
Literally anyone can use an ALS. People with perfect hearing may seek to enhance their ability to hear in difficult conditions (think of the FBI in the back of a surveillance van) – and so can people who are deaf, require cochlear implants, hearing aids, or have overly sensitive hearing. ALS devices can be adjusted for almost any user, and they serve to further increase the effectiveness of other hearing assist devices for the hearing impaired.
Types of ALS Devices:
There are all sorts of different technologies involved in Assistive Learning Systems – but they all have three basic components: A device for input – like a microphone, a method of information transfer, and a receiver type specific to the information transfer method being utilized.
FM systems use broadcast technology similar to what you would see in an FM radio. This type of device is most commonly used in an educational setting – but it can have several applications. For those with hearing impairments – this device can be configured to play sound from a faraway audio source directly into a hearing aid wirelessly using a small receiver.
Infrared systems utilize light-based technology. The primary advantage of a system like this is its privacy – because light cannot pass through opaque objects like walls. A device like this is often use to keep a conversation between a hearing-impaired person and their lawyer confidential for court purposes. Increasing volume or having a signal that could potentially be picked up by a device in another room can compromise privacy. A device like this can also easily be used inside to home to listen to the television, a phone, or other household device.
Inductive Loop systems use electromagnetic field transfer technology to work in an area of effect. This is most commonly used for groups of people – one device and effectively broadcast to multiple hearing aids – and those without hearing aids can make uses of other hearing devices with an inductive loop receiver – like headphones for example. A common place you might see a device like this is at a public venue – especially one that is specifically designed for deaf or hearing-impaired patrons.
There Is a Device for Everyone
Whatever your hearing issue is – there is a device for your use case. As previously stated, some of the technology is so advanced in this field – it is utilized by people with perfect hearing in the FBI to augment their abilities. There are all sorts of resources out there to look for, and even dedicated forums related to the topic that might provide solutions for problems that you didn’t even realize you had. It never hurts to look at what’s out there. Don’t delay – see what devices could help you in your everyday life today!