Hearing aids have proven to be very beneficial to those with hearing loss. Sometimes, based on the degree and type of hearing loss, hearing aids alone are not sufficient for all life and environmental situations. Luckily there are other speciality devices, known as assistive listening devices (ALDs), designed to improve hearing ability in a variety of situations. An ALD can be used with hearing aids, cochlear implants or on its own. They improve the clarity of speech by increasing the signal to noise ratio or amplify specific environmental sounds when hearing aids alone are not sufficient.
Different ALDs are available for alerting individuals of sounds like a fire alarm, doorbell ringing and an alarm clock buzzing. People with age-related or noise-induced hearing loss have the most significant loss in the higher frequencies, like the pitch of a fire alarm. Individuals with a hearing loss around 3000Hz won’t hear a fire alarm when they are asleep and some cannot even hear the alarm when they are awake. The use of a fire alerting systems can be a life saving addition to your home. The Lifetone altering system has proven to wake 95% of individuals with hearing loss. It uses a visual signalling device that indicates “fire” on the screen, a low frequency pitch of 90dBA and a vibrating bed shaker to notify you when a fire alarm is going off.
An other type of ALD is an FM system. This device can be used for large areas like classrooms, churches, theaters, conferences or even in small groups with one-on-one conversations. Generally, the person talking wears a device that picks up their voice and projects it through speakers or directly into a person’s hearing aid.
With the advancement in hearing aid technology the hearing aids now have the ability to communicate with a Bluetooth signal; essentially turning the hearing aids into a Bluetooth headset. The television and telephone conversations can be heard directly in the user’s hearing aid.
There are television and telephone devices that do not require hearing aids. Amplified telephones increase the volume much louder than a traditional phone to help hear phone conversations. Also, television listening systems work with a headset that will send the sound from the television straight into your ears.
For more information on how ALDs can be used to help in different listening situations, please contact our clinic for an appointment with one of our knowledgeable Audiologists.