If you’ve been to one of the hearing aid centers of Tucson, you may have been introduced to the world of assistive listening devices (ALDs). An assistive listening device is a portable personal amplification system that allows people who are hard of hearing to separate speech from background noise, enabling them to hear more clearly. It can be used with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants and works well in situations where hearing aids or cochlear implants are ineffective on their own.
Benefits of Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids and cochlear implants are excellent at amplifying speech, but aren’t very effective at separating background noises, making it difficult for people with hearing loss to follow conversations in certain environments. These are the situations in which your Tucson audiologist may recommend using an ALD. The toughest listening situations include:
Hearing a speaker from a distance.
Sound fades over distance. The farther away the sound source, the more difficult it is to hear and understand what is being said.
Dealing with noisy backgrounds.
Competing noise is a distraction. When others are talking or you’re dealing with ventilation systems, shuffling papers, TVs, traffic, etc. you can have trouble discerning speech.
Poor acoustical environments
Sound waves bounce off hard surfaces, causing reverberation and distortion. Large, open spaces or sparsely furnished rooms are notoriously poor listening environments.
In these scenarios, most will try to simply turn up the volume of their hearing aids. This turns up ALL the volume, even the background noise you are trying to avoid. An ALD solves this problem by separating the competing sounds and only turning up the volume on the speaker.
Assistive listening devices are useful in group lectures and meetings, restaurants, churches, movie theaters, shopping centers and public buildings. Along with these settings, they can be used in other locations. Talk to your Tucson area audiologist to find out if an ALD may help you in a difficult hearing environment.
Assistive listening devices include a microphone, transmitter and receiver. The microphone is placed near the speaker rather than integrated into the unit as with a hearing aid, and speech is broadcast from the transmitter to the receiver and directly to the user’s ear, hearing aid or cochlear implant. Most ALDs utilize wireless technology and are compatible with Bluetooth devices such as cell phones, computers and TVs. Talk to an audiologist to find out which types of ALDs work with your preexisting hearing aids or cochlear implants.
If you want to invest in an ALD, visit one of the top hearing aid centers in Tucson to speak with a hearing doctor about your options and learn is an assistive listening device is right for your needs.