Hearing aids aren’t the only option for individuals with hearing loss. They may be your primary choice for improving conversation in difficult listening environments, but sometimes you need a little extra boost. There are a variety of assisted listening devices Tucson patients can use to help supplement their hearing in challenging situations.
Assisted listening devices, or ALDs, are portable systems that enable hearing loss patients to communicate more effectively. They aren’t meant to replace hearing aids, but rather, to help out in situations where they are less effective. Hence their name. Some ALDs are meant to be used in tandem with hearing aids, while others operate as standalone devices.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices
There are a number of different assistive listening devices for use in situations where distance, poor acoustics, or background noise limit the effectiveness of hearing aids. The most popular types include:
- FM Systems. FM systems are comprised of three parts – a microphone, transmitter, and receiver. They utilize radio signals to transmit amplified sounds directly to your hearing aids. The microphone picks up the sound signal and the transmitter broadcasts it to the receiver, which is tuned to a specific frequency. They are a good choice for use in public places such as restaurants, movie theaters, classrooms, and churches.
- Infrared Systems. Infrared systems are similar to FM systems, but instead of radio waves, they rely on infrared light to transmit sound. The transmitter converts sound signals into light and beams them to the receiver, which converts the light signal back into sound. How high-tech is that?! Sound signals cannot pass through walls with an infrared system as they can with an FM system, making them a good choice in places where privacy is a concern, such as courtrooms.
- Personal Amplifiers. Personal amplifiers are basically miniature FM systems used in situations where radio signals wouldn’t work as well or might be considered overkill. Instead of being a separate component, the microphone is built into the device itself. Personal amplifiers are popular for watching TV in the privacy of your home or when traveling in a car or other vehicle.
- Hearing Loops. Also known as induction loops, these systems transmit sound directly to hearing aids using electromagnetic energy. They come with an amplifier that picks up sound from an external source and transmits that through a loop of wire to the telecoil, a built-in wireless receiver. Hearing loops have the advantage of providing clear sound in noisy public places and can receive signals from a wide variety of audio sources. They are especially useful in busy places such as airports or crowded lecture halls.
- Alerting Devices. Alerting devices provide a loud sound, flashing light, or vibration when connected to telephones, alarm clocks, doorbells, and other electronic devices, alerting you in situations where you might otherwise never hear the ringing phone or other sound source.
If you’re experiencing hearing loss and think you could benefit from any of these assisted listening devices in Tucson, reach out to your local audiologist today. They’ll have plenty of options from which you can choose!