Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
Devices that enhance a persons hearing for specific problem areas including: TV viewing, telephone listening, alerting devices, lectures, movies, sermons, in auditoriums, etc.
Devices used in conjunction with hearing aids or by themselves.
Devices that allow for maximum benefit from hearing aids.
Devices that promote safety and independence for a hearing impaired or deaf person.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
Personal Amplifiers: Amplifies one-on-one or small group conversations. Good solutions for people that need some amplification but are not able or do not wish to pursue hearing aids. Some systems can be used in conjunction with hearing aids to enhance listening in more problematic environments, such as in the presence of noise or at a distance from a speaker.
These systems are typically Hard Wired Systems - this is where a microphone is attached by a thin cable to the receiver, typically headphones. This can be useful for one-on-one conversation at short distances. It can be used for improved listening of the television, radio, CD players, MP3 player, etc. There is limited mobility as you have to be within the length of the cable to what you are attempting to listen to.
Receiver "booted" to the hearing aid Transmitter
Wireless FM System- is a wireless system where the signal is transmitted from the person speaking to the individual by an FM radio signal. The receiver can be a body worn device with headphones. The signal can also be sent directly to your behind-the-ear hearing aids with a small receiver “booted” directly to the hearing aid. An in-the-ear hearing aid may be coupled with an FM system via the hearing aid’s telecoil. This system is often used in classrooms for the hearing impaired and can be used at meetings, lectures and sermons. This system is ideal for overcoming distance and background noise and is a great solution for those where these types of environments are very problematic.
TV amplifiers: Various devices are available that can be plugged directly into your TV and the signal is transmitted wirelessly to headphones. This may be transmitted via infrared – where the signal is sent by an infrared light signal, similar to the remote control on TVs or VCRs. This infrared technology is often used in the home to amplify the TV or in theaters and or public speaking situations. The infrared system requires a clear line-of-sight between the transmitter and the receiver. Other systems employ FM signal technology which transmits via a FM radio signal and can work within a 600-900 square foot area and do not require line of site. Some newer devices employ Bluetooth™ connectivity which can be paired to a Bluetooth™ headset or to a Bluetooth™ neckloop or a remote device which transmits the sound directly to your hearing aids.
Induction Loops or neckloops - An electromagnetic field is produced and it is picked up by a special receiver. The receiver could be headphones or the listener's hearing aid. Your hearing aid must be equipped with a manual telecoil to communicate with a loop system. Our Audiologists can assist you in setting up the telecoil function on your hearing aid. Larger loops can be wired into meeting rooms or theatres. Small neckloops can be worn around the neck and plugged into an audio device such as a cell phone, amplified listener, computer, MP3 player, etc. A Bluetooth™ neckloop connects almost any Bluetooth™ device wirelessly with your hearing aids via the hearing aid’s telecoil. This device would allow our Audiologists to set up your hearing aid to communicate with any Bluetooth™ enabled device such as cell phone, laptop, MP3 player, etc.
Alerting Devices - These devices signal you with loud sounds, vibration, and or light. There are doorbells, knock-at-the door devices, phone alerting devices, fire/smoke alarm devices, baby-cry devices, room-to-room sound alerting systems, vibrating clock alarms, vibrating paging systems, vibrating watch alarms etc. Our Audiologists can provide devices that meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code as of January 2010 that requires a lower-frequency signal in fire/smoke detectors which have a greater chance of being heard by those with hearing impairment. These devices also meet the testing requirements of Underwriters Laboratory (UL), an independent product safety certification organization that sets standards and certifies product safety.
Telephone Amplifiers - There is a large variety of telephone solutions for the hearing impaired including amplified telephones, portable amplifiers, and cell phone amplifiers. Bluetooth™ connectivity allows for direct communication with both landline and cell phones with Bluetooth™ neckloops or remote Bluetooth™ devices to transmit sound from your phone directly to your hearing aids.
The Telecommunications Equipment Purchase Program (TEPP) is a Wisconsin State sponsored program to help people with disabilities buy specialized equipment they need in order to use basic telephone services. You can apply for a TEPP voucher online, or by mail.
Amplified Stethoscopes - Allows the user to amplify or record heart or breath sounds. It can be connected to headphones, some BTE hearing aids or a cochlear implant. Other stethoscope solutions are available. An earmold may be designed to interface with either a CIC or ITC, serving as an interface between the earpiece of the stethoscope and the hearing instrument.
Special adapters may be incorporated onto the stethoscope’s earpiece. Steth-o-Mate™ tips are such adapters for current users of custom hearing instruments (ITE through CIC)
Find more information from the Association For Medical Professionals With Hearing Loss, which provides information, promotes advocacy and mentorship, and creates a network for individuals with hearing loss interested in or working in health care fields.
Hearing loss is a disability that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with hearing loss. A reasonable accommodation is defined as “modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity”. This may include phone amplifiers, FM systems, amplified stethoscopes or personal amplifiers. Our Audiologists can advise you in determining what devices would best meet your needs to enable you to performance your job.
Bluetooth™ Connectivity: Bluetooth™ is an automatic “wireless connection” between an audio device and some type of receiver. Wireless connectivity has opened up a world of possibilities for people with hearing loss. Bluetooth™ technology can be used for an easy, high fidelity connection between your hearing aids and your mobile or land line phone, TV, computer, MP3 player and other audio devices.
Bluetooth™ Capable Hearing Aids
Many of today's digital hearing aids are Bluetooth™ capable. Hearing aids with Bluetooth™ capabilities connect to audio devices with a simple push of a button on a remote device. These remote devices essentially turn your hearing aids into a hands free headset, allowing you to hear sounds from audio devices through both of your hearing aids at the same time.
Some of the benefits of purchasing hearing aids with wireless Bluetooth™ capabilities include:
- Ability to hear audio devices with both ears for optimal “stereo” listening
- Ability to switch between TV, land line phone, cell phone, etc. with a simple push of a button
- Remote device most often can be used as a remote control for your hearing aids as well
- Stay connected to the devices that matter most in your busy life
Hearing aids with a telecoil feature may also enjoy wireless Bluetooth™ connectivity, see induction loops. For more information on Bluetooth™ hearing aids and wireless hearing aid solutions, discuss with our Audiologists.
TV and Wireless Bluetooth™ Connectivity: a small adaptor connects to the audio output of any TV and runs on its own power supply. Enjoy high quality audio –streaming binaurally through your hearing instruments.
Telephone and Wireless Bluetooth™ Connectivity: Most cell phones are Bluetooth™ compatible, meaning you can “pair” your cell phone to communicate wirelessly to a remote or Bluetooth™ neckloop, which transfers the sound directly to your hearing aids. A phone adaptor allows you to use your current land-line telephone as a Bluetooth™ phone. It pairs to the wireless remote or Bluetooth™ neckloop and connects automatically whenever the phone is activated.