Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

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If you have hearing loss, then a hearing aid will almost certainly improve the quality of your life. But there may still be occasions when even the finest equipment may fall short of the mark.

That’s when special devices, known as assistive listening devices (ALDs), can really make a difference.

Some of these devices are specifically designed for certain types of hearing aid, while others can be used without a hearing aid in place at all. In fact, you’d be surprised just how widespread the uses of ALD are, and the variety of them available on the market.

Here’s a selection of ALDs to enhance the hearing experience.

Amplified telephones

These allow you to turn up the volume on the phone, so that you hear clearly what’s being said. They can make it easier to hear high-pitched sounds and sometimes feature amplified ring tones, so you’ll never miss a call. And they don’t need to be worn with hearing aids. Available in mobile and landline models, amplified phones also feature caller ID, voicemail, headset options and speakerphone.

Hearing aid compatible phones

By law, telephone manufacturers must make phones that are compatible with hearing aids – by what is known as either acoustic or telecoil coupling. Acoustic coupling picks up and amplifies sounds from the phone and surrounding noise. Telecoil coupling requires the hearing aid to be equipped with a telecoil, a special feature that only picks up the phone signal for amplification. Telecoils in hearing aids are ideal for those with more advanced hearing loss because they block out background noise during calls – a real bonus for anyone spending a lot of time on the blower! 

ALDs for televisions

There are ALDs that work with or without hearing aids. Indeed, many modern hearing aids come equipped with wireless capabilities so that the user can adjust the TV volume and sound streaming directly to the hearing aid via Bluetooth.

Hearing aids equipped with a telecoil can be coupled with a neck loop or induction loop. This can help improve television sound clarity and some TV amplifiers even work without hearing aids. One example is TV Ears® a relatively inexpensive wireless headset with a personal volume control, that plugs directly into the TV earphone socket. 

FM systems

One of the biggest challenges with hearing loss is the presence of background noise. This occurs when the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) from the person speaking isn’t loud enough to combat background noise. Improving SNR can make a huge difference to hearing quality. That’s where an FM system, an effective wireless technology, can play a big part.

The FM system consists of a transmitter microphone, used by the person speaking in front of an audience, and a receiver used by the hearing aid wearer. The technology ensures the speech signal is delivered directly to both hearing aids. These systems are extremely beneficial in schools, where background noise can be a huge issue for those with hearing loss.

Alerting devices

While most ALDs are designed to make listening easier, other devices are specifically to help those with hearing loss stay connected and safe. Typically, these devices rely on amplified sounds, visual cues and even vibrations to alert the person to everyday sounds. Examples include vibrating alarm clocks, doorbell alerts that use flashing lights, as well as vibrating or lighted smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

What all these assistive living devices have in common, however, is that they improve lives and provide additional peace of mind.

To find out more about how ALDs could be put to practical effect in your everyday life, go to