How Can Assistive Listening Devices Help With Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can present a variety of challenges to daily routines that may compromise the ability to live an independent lifestyle. Amazing technological advancements have been made in both hearing aids and assistive listening devices to improve hearing capability for people struggling with hearing loss.
What are Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)?
An assistive listening device is a tool or system used to improve the hearing capacity for individuals in a range of environments and situations where accurate hearing has become difficult. ALDs can be used to provide more clarity in noisy or distracting environments, or to enhance hearing ability for people with hearing loss. They can be used on their own or in conjunction with hearing aids to improve listening capability. The main function of an ALD is to increase the volume of particular sounds required by the user.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices
There is a wide selection of ALDs available for various purposes, and they can generally be divided into four main categories:
- Notification Systems
- Personal Amplifiers
- Amplified Telephones
- TV Streamers
Using notification systems can be extremely useful, not only for increased hearing capacity but also for enhancing safety. Typical notification devices we use around the home on a regular basis include things like alarm clocks, smoke alarms, and door bells. If hearing loss is preventing you from hearing these alerts it can compromise your personal safety. ALDs can help amplify these sounds and even accompany auditory alerts with visual or vibrational cues.
Built-in light systems can be affixed to alarm clocks, phones, doorbells, and smoke detectors to provide an extra layer of notification for better security and to ensure important events are not missed.
An extra loud alarm will make sure you are up on time, and can be combined with a pillow shaker which vibrates your pillow in case the auditory alert is missed.
This type of ADL is perfect for interaction and communication in a one-on-one setting. The system consists of a set of headphones and microphone. The mic is held by the speaker while the listener with hearing loss wears the headset. The headset can be adjusted to a comfortable volume and may be used as a standalone solution or in combination with a hearing aid.
Talking on the phone can especially challenging for people with hearing loss because there are no visual cues to aid in the communication. Adjustable volume and tone control help amplify difficult to hear sounds and improve clarity. Ring volumes can also be amplified to avoid missed calls.
To avoid blaring the TV at shocking volumes, TV streamers can be used to enjoy TV audio without disturbing others around you. This system also employs the use of a headset to deliver wireless transmission of sound from the TV set. The sound can be adjusted to a comfortable level and can be used in conjunction with a hearing aid.
Benefits of Assistive Listening Devices
ALDs are not recommended to be used as a replacement for hearing aids, but they can be very helpful for certain applications.
Some of the advantages ADLs can offer include:
- Quick and easy to install and use
- Can provide audible clarity for specific sounds you want to hear
- Help cancel out unwanted background noise
- Help minimize sound distortion and reverberation
- Improve communication and one-to-one conversation
- Can be used concurrently with hearing aids to boost overall hearing capacity
Hearing Support and Assistance
Assistive listening devices are by no means a solution for hearing loss. If you are experiencing hearing loss it is highly recommended to seek professional assistance as soon as possible to manage the issue effectively.