Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are designed to help people with hearing loss by facilitating easier communication and enhancing listening abilities. ALDs have some similarities with hearing aids but cannot replace the overall function of the latter.
ALDs work by picking up sounds through a microphone or other input device and transmitting them directly to the wearer’s ear, either through speakers, headphones, or earpieces.
There is a wide selection of assistive listening devices available, including infrared systems, personal FM systems, induction loop systems, and Bluetooth-enabled systems. Each type of assistive listening device has its own unique features and benefits, and the choice of which type to use will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
Why are assistive listening devices necessary?
Assistive listening devices are necessary because they help improve the ability to communicate and hear sounds more clearly.
Access to clear sounds even in public spaces
Various public spaces, such as churches, theaters, lecture halls, and schools, use ALDs to provide better access to people with hearing loss or specific hearing needs. ALDs can help people hear lectures, speeches, movies, and performances in public spaces, allowing them to participate in and enjoy these activities like everyone else.
Assistive listening devices can help people with hearing loss hear sounds more clearly at a higher amplification than they would be able to without the device. When used appropriately, ALDs can help people enjoy music and other media, better understand conversations and participate more fully in various events and social activities.
Enhanced quality of life
Individuals diagnosed with hearing loss can experience social isolation and reduced quality of life due to challenges in communicating. Assistive listening devices can help mitigate these challenges by improving hearing and providing easy access to social activities. ALDs can help provide a feeling of inclusion and freedom to participate in various activities at home, work, or school.
When used as alerting devices, assistive listening devices can play a huge role in promoting safety. Alerting devices can help notify people with hearing loss of important sounds, such as sirens, fire alarms, telephone calls, doorbells, etc. Through ALDs, it is easier to pick up warning signals and emergency announcements in closed or public spaces.
In a nutshell, assistive listening devices are necessary to help improve a person’s communication and participation in society. These devices also help improve safety and overall quality of life.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices
There are many types of assistive listening devices available, each with its own set of features and benefits.
Take a look at some common and popular ALDs below:
Personal FM Systems
Personal FM systems use a transmitter and a receiver to amplify sound and transmit it directly to the ear. The transmitter can be placed near the sound source or worn by the person speaking. FM systems are commonly used in lecture halls, conference rooms, classrooms, and other public places.
This system works quite similarly to FM systems, but instead of using radio waves, infrared systems use infrared light to transmit sound. Infrared systems are often used in theaters and other public places where radio waves may interfere with other electronic devices.
Induction Loop Systems
For an induction loop system to work, a device must have a telecoil (T-coil) setting or feature. Induction loop systems make use of a cable or wire loop that is installed in a room or a specific venue to transmit the sound directly to a hearing aid or cochlear implant.
Bluetooth-enabled assistive listening devices use wireless technology to transmit sound directly to hearing aids or other compatible devices, such as tablets or smartphones. These systems are often used in small group settings or during one-on-one conversations.
Alerting devices are designed to notify individuals of significant sounds, such as alarms, doorbells, sirens, and telephone calls.
Assistive Listening Devices VS Hearing Aids
Assistive Listening Devices and hearing aids are both designed to help people improve their ability to hear sounds in their environment and communicate better. On the surface, they may seem to be similar, but there are several key differences between these two devices.
The main difference between hearing aids and assistive listening devices is that hearing aids can be personalized and programmed and are designed to amplify sound specifically for the wearer. Put simply, hearing aids are customized to match specific hearing needs, and they can be programmed to provide various levels of amplification for different types of sounds.
Meanwhile, assistive listening devices are designed to help wearers hear sounds in specific situations. ALDs are limited when it comes to personalization. They primarily work by amplifying sound through a mic or other input device and transmitting it directly to the listener’s ear.
Another key difference between hearing aids and assistive listening devices is that hearing aids are meant to be worn all the time, whereas ALDs are only used recommended to be worn in specific environments or situations.
Cost-wise, hearing aids are more expensive than ALDs due to their functions, features, and overall benefit.
Despite these differences, hearing aids and assistive listening devices have some similarities. For example, both types of devices can help people communicate and hear sounds more clearly. Both devices can also be used in conjunction with each other to provide additional amplification and support in extra challenging listening environments.
Can assistive listening devices take the place of hearing aids?
Assistive listening devices can be helpful in certain listening situations but keep in mind that they generally cannot take the place of hearing aids.
Hearing aids are designed to amplify sounds and improve hearing across a wide range of frequencies, while assistive listening devices are designed to focus on specific situations.
Hearing aids can be customized and programmed to specific hearing needs and may include features such as noise reduction, directional microphones, and feedback cancellation.
Additionally, hearing aids are designed to be worn for long periods of time and are designed to be discreet and comfortable. On the other hand, ALDs may be more cumbersome to use and may not be as effective in all situations.
Bear in mind that hearing loss is a medical condition that should be evaluated and treated by a qualified audiologist or hearing healthcare professional. If you are experiencing hearing loss, it is best to consult with an audiologist who can help determine the best course of action for your specific hearing needs.
Frequently Ask Questions
Who can use assistive listening devices?
Assistive listening devices can be useful for people who are not able to wear traditional hearing aids or who require additional support in noisy environments. They can also be used in conjunction with hearing aids to provide additional clarity and amplification.
Where can ALDs be used?
Assistive listening devices can be used in a variety of listening environments, such as in public places like lecture halls, theaters, schools, and places of worship. ALDs can also be enjoyed in more private or quiet settings to facilitate one-on-one conversations.
Should I use an assistive listening device or a hearing aid?
The choice of whether to use an assistive listening device or a hearing aid will significantly depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you have hearing loss, it’s best to consult with an audiologist to determine the best course of action for your unique hearing requirements.
Assistive Listening Devices | Lawrenceville, NJ
Overall, assistive listening devices can be a valuable tool not only for people with hearing loss but also for individuals who need that extra amplification.
ALDs provide greater access to sounds and improve the ability to communicate and connect with others.
To know more about assistive listening devices and their technology, our Oracle Hearing Center team will be happy to walk you through them!
Contact us today or visit our office located at 134 Franklin Corner Road, Suite 104, Lawrenceville, NJ.