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The innovation of hearing aid technology in recent years has significantly enhanced user experience for those with hearing loss. There is such a wide range of features and options that allow hearing aids to easily integrate into your daily life and maximize your hearing in all environments you navigate.
In addition to hearing aids, there are numerous types of assistive listening devices that support hearing. Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are also designed to help hear in specific settings. ALDs that are compatible with hearing aids strengthen the sound quality, making it easier to hear in more challenging contexts. ALDs can help you hear more effectively in public venues while watching television and on the phone.
With all of the options available today, it can be overwhelming to identify what could work best for you. To better understand the terrain of ALDs, they can be divided into the following categories below.
Using Bluetooth technology, hearing aids can wirelessly connect to other electronic devices such as smartphones, speakers, laptops, etc.
Wireless technology is convenient and allows people with hearing loss to hear much more clearly. Connecting wirelessly allows the audio to be streamed directly into your hearing aids. This sharpens sound quality and improves listening experiences while watching television, listening to a podcast, talking on your phone, etc. This is a handy way to integrate your devices and quickly shift between them. This option is incredibly beneficial because it works for multiple devices.
Also referred to as audio induction loops, a hearing loop is a hearing aid technology that amplifies sound in public settings. Hearing loops are specifically helpful for navigating public venues (conferences, talks, readings, meetings, etc.), airports, stadiums, theaters, classrooms, check-out counters, etc.
A small telecoil is embedded in hearing aid devices that pick up signals from the audio in a public space. It is then converted into a sound that is set to the user’s specific preferences. Hearing loops are easy to use – you simply turn the Telecoil option on (on your hearing device) and can be used in many settings. They provide greater accessibility for people with hearing loss in environments that may be more challenging to hear in.
Amplified telephones are designed for people with hearing loss and allow you to increase the volume to meet your hearing needs. They reduce feedback and other noises that make it challenging to hear, especially with hearing aids. Amplified phones work in the same way that hearing loops work. The telecoil option on your hearing aids picks up sound from the phone and converts it to meet your specific hearing needs.
FM systems use radio waves to send amplified sounds to hearing aids. FM systems involve a microphone that emits sound waves and a receiver. A person speaks into a microphone, and the listener’s receiver picks up the audio through radio signals. You may already be familiar with this technology if you have used headsets in a guided tour! The receiver can be built-in into hearing aids or be separate (headphones or neck loop).
This option is better in smaller settings and may not be necessary if you use previously mentioned devices. Personal amplifiers are small (handheld) devices with a microphone that amplifies the sound you are trying to hear and reduces background noise. The sound is absorbed by a receiver that the listener is wearing (hearing aids, headphones, earbuds).
In addition to these types of ALDs, there is an array of technologies that assist with hearing. ALDs encompass any type of device and/or technology that supports hearing. Additional ALDs that could be useful to you are:
- Captioning services
- Voice recognition software
- Alerting and/or notification systems
If you are interested in assistive listening devices, come and chat with us! It is essential to identify your hearing needs and discuss what could work best for you and your lifestyle! ALDs are designed to support and maximize your hearing and ability to navigate daily life with ease!