Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are a broad category of hearing aid accessories that work as personal amplification systems for those with hearing loss. ALDs can be used on their own or in combination with hearing aids or other hearing implants.

ALDs help you hear in challenging listening situations, such as when there are poor acoustics, the source of sound is far away, or there is excessive background noise.

Types of Assistive Listening Devices

If you decide that an assistive listening device is right for you, the next step is choosing which type would be best for your individual needs. There are many different ALDs available. Different technologies are designed for different situations. Most ALDs today use Bluetooth® technology or high-frequency FM radio waves to wirelessly transmit signals.

While various styles of devices are available, the basic function of each is the same. ALDs have two separate parts:

  1. The microphone and transmitter: This unit can be placed near or at the source of sound. It gathers the important signals and transmits them to the second component.

  2. The receiver and speaker: This component is worn by the listener and is typically placed near the ear. It receives signals from the transmitter, processes the sounds, and delivers them directly to the listener clearly and comprehensibly.

Using ALDs

Hearing aids have rapidly advanced in recent years, making them more effective than ever before. However, there are still some environments in which hearing aids still struggle due to distance, poor acoustics, or overwhelming background noise. ALDs are helpful in a variety of situations that can otherwise pose a challenge for those who are hard of hearing. Some of the most common places people use ALDs include:

  • Schools and classrooms

  • Houses of worship

  • Movie theaters

  • Lecture and performance halls

  • Conference and meeting rooms

  • Courtrooms

  • Noisy restaurants and bars

Many solutions exist to help those with hearing loss in any situation. Talk to your audiologist at Indiana Ear to learn more about what’s available to you at your next appointment.

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