Assistive Listening Devices
Have you ever felt like you needed some extra help hearing in specific listening environments? This is a common concern I hear from those who haven’t tried hearing technology, and sometimes from those who are currently wearing hearing aids. With advancements in technology, there are now devices that help in both situations. From those whose only concern is hearing the TV better, to those who want to be able to understand speech in the challenging listening environments, there’s a device for you!
If you are wearing hearing aids and still have difficulty in certain environments, this does not mean your hearing aids aren’t working. When we approach fitting hearing aids we know there are no two people that are exactly alike. Even though two people may have the same hearing loss and be fit with the same hearing aids, they will still have completely different experiences, and prefer different settings. In this day and age, hearing aids have specific features to help patients in challenging listening environments, depending on what the needs are. If those types of hearing aids aren’t right for you, or if you already have hearing aids and still would like more support in certain listening environments, there are devices known as assistive listening devices (or ALDs) that can be used alone or paired with many hearing aids to give people the support they need. Devices such as these can include remote controls, remote microphones, and TV and telephone accessories.
Remotes can help individuals have more control over their hearing aids for the environments of their choosing. A remote can have multiple capabilities, and some of these include increasing and decreasing volume as well as changing programs. For example if a patient was in the car, they could be set-up with a program that was optimal for the car and additionally turn volume down on the hearing aid that is closest to the window to reduce some of the road noise; without having to turn both hearing aids down.
Television and telephone accessories can also be paired to an individual’s hearing aids and transfer the sound directly into the hearing aids. When the phone call begins the patient no longer has to hold the phone to their ear, as the sound is going directly into the hearing aids. When watching TV, the sound is going directly into the patient’s aids and they can change the level of volume, while the patient’s family member can set the volume to the level of their own choosing without it changing the patient’s volume.
Some ALD’s do not require a hearing aid, such as a pocket talker or TV ears system. Pocket talkers are used to amplify the surrounding sounds directly into the patient’s ear. They can be used at home or on the go. Television Ears is a headset device that can be used without hearing aids. A person can enjoy the sound of television with a better signal to noise ratio and can play the TV at a different volume than others in the room.
There are various types of assistive devices, and some are universal and work without hearing aids, while others will only work with specific hearing aids. Many times assistive deices aren’t needed as many patient’s receive enough benefits from the aids alone; however, there are some patients who are recommended to have assistive devices for additional support. There is a wide range of assistive devices to be used, the one listed above are very common devices that we use in our practice. If you are interested or have question on any assistive device, don’t hesitate to contact or clinic.