Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids are a tremendous help for those with hearing loss, but sometimes we can also benefit from some additional technologies to help with specific activities. Evergreen Audiology is here to help you sort through Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) and find the right technology to help you most where you need it.
Some ALDs are meant to be paired with specific models of hearing aids, and others work independently of hearing aids or replace other consumer devices. Whatever type of hearing aids you have, Dr. Lawson can help you find the assistive listening devices that work with or without them to suit your lifestyle and further minimize the impact of your hearing loss.
No hearing aids necessary: amplified phones have a louder earpiece than normal phones, and emphasize the high frequencies that are usually lost more severely than lower ones. They can also be set to ring louder, so you won’t miss calls. While your hearing aids will boost the volume of normal phones, these can be great to keep next to the bed, to use when your hearing aids are out for the night or before you put them in in the morning.
Telecoils are tiny copper coils inside some hearing aids that allow them to pick up signals from a compatible nearby device. If you’re on the phone a lot or if you have especially bad issues with background noise, hearing aids that are fitted with telecoils (or T-coils) might be right for you. These will allow you to get the sound of the phone directly to your ears, minus the background noise.
T-coils are also especially useful if you like to go to church, see movies in the theater, visit museums or attend public events. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, any public space that features amplified audio as part of its attraction must have an “induction loop” system, which is compatible with the T-coils inside hearing aids. You simply wear an additional device, and the audio that’s being amplified in the room will be cast directly into your hearing aids. It’s like front row seats for your ears!
Assistive Listening Devices for Television
Your hearing aids will definitely help you hear the television better, and we can even create a special TV-specific program for your hearing aids if you have problems with your general fitment. If you have a T-coil model, you can also use technology similar to what you’d use at the movies or a public event to broadcast the sound from the television directly to your hearing aids.
Or maybe you like to watch TV in bed after removing your hearing aids for the day. Turning up the TV to the point you can hear it can make it uncomfortably loud for others in the room — or even nearby rooms! There are stand-alone devices, not dependent on your hearing aids, that allow you to adjust your own television volume independently of others in the room.
Similar to T-coils but not dependent on an integrated system in the environment, FM systems can be really useful in a number of settings. Used often by children with hearing loss to hear teachers in classrooms, an FM system uses a directional microphone that is then broadcast to your hearing aids. A balance control allows you to adjust the amount of directional microphone versus the microphones in your hearing aids, allowing you to determine how much of the person holding the microphone and how much of other people and environmental sounds you’ll hear.
FM systems might be useful for those who meet in groups at work, or who do a lot of driving with passengers. Some people might find them unnecessary, while to others they may be a godsend. It’s all about your lifestyle and what’s most important for you.
You may already own one of the most powerful modern assistive listening devices: the smartphone. With options like automatic transcription, closed captioning and vibration settings, smartphones are a powerful tool for those with hearing loss. And if your hearing aids have Bluetooth capability, they can already integrate with your smartphone to amplify telephone calls, videos, music and more. Evergreen Audiology can help you find the ways your smartphone can work even harder for you.
Whether you’re new to hearing aids or you’ve been wearing them for a while, the friendly team at Evergreen Audiology can help you get the most out of them with the assistive listening devices that are right for you.