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Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Assistive Listening Devices

A group of people discuss hearing loss at a party.

Assistive listening devices (ALD) are useful to help those with hearing loss in situations where a greater distance to the sound source impeded sound, background noise is louder than the sound source, room acoustics muffle or distort sounds, or the vibrations in the room create distraction or entirely disrupt sound. There are many new and technologically advanced options for ALDs on the market today.

Poor room acoustics, a greater distance to the speaker, and background noise are all elements that can inhibit the sound quality of hearing aids. Just raising the volume isn’t going to compensate for the interference. In these cases people with hearing loss can clarify the signal by using an assistive listening device (ALD).

Assistive Listening Devices for the Classroom

Understanding speech in noise is a continuing challenge for manufacturers of hearing aids. It’s especially difficult when it comes to improving the serious issues of children and learning. The most common and convenient way to boost the signal to a hearing aid in a classroom is to use an FM system that consists of a microphone (worn or placed near the teacher), transmitter (commonly attached to microphone, and a receiver (worn or placed near the student). Many manufacturers have systems designed specifically for the classroom. Oticon has the popular Amigo. This system is small and powerful enough to boost hearing in the classroom and is also easily compatible with most hearing aids. Phonak recently designed and developed Roger is simple to use by incorporates Phonak's advanced technologies to compensate for poor room acoustics and is compatible with nearly all behind-the-ear hearing aids. According to Phonak, “Roger, offers a scientifically proven breakthrough in signal-to-noise ratio and finally eliminates the hassle of frequency management.”

In addition to individual sound systems, many manufacturers have designed full classroom acoustic technologies. These systems are valuable because it has been shown that children with hearing loss are not the only ones to have difficulty hearing in the classroom. Children with special needs and even those with allergies, colds, or sinus issues can have difficulty hearing in class. Full classroom amplification solutions are available from many manufacturers included the Dynamic SoundField for education line by Phonak.

Assistive Listening Devices for the Office

Oticon Streamer Pro
This technology is the latest addition to Oticon's ConnectLine technology. This device is worn around the neck and transmits sound directly into the hearing aid. According to the manufacturer, "When hearing aids are linked to Streamer Pro, practically any audio source can be transmitted through Streamer Pro to the hearing aids using a wireless Bluetooth connection or a mini jack cable."

Phonak’s RemoteMic
This simple solution is best used in one on one conversation. The person without hearing loss would wear the remote mic and the transmission of speech is sent directly to the hearing aid. This device can also be paired with Phonak's ComPilot in order to increase clarity in the boardroom or meeting room.

SoundField by Phonak
Designed to enhance the sound systems in conferences, training, and boardrooms, Phonak's SoundField provides a, "A system that intelligently and automatically adapted its sound output and its settings to suit the specific noise environment of any room."

Assistive Listening Devices for the Home and World

Induction Loop--Hearing Loop LogoHearing Loop Logo Induction loops are used to transmit signals directly to hearing aids to make information available to hard of hearing individuals. Induction loops have long been used in homes to create easier access to television and other technologies. But now, when out in the world many public places—churches, museums, even taxis, are marked with a hearing loop logo. This means any hearing aid equipped with a T-coil or tele coil can be switched on, delivering news and important information directly into the hearing aids. Joining the movement to get more induction loops installed in public places is a good way to help support equal access for all. Find out more at Hearing Loop.org

90% of today’s hearing aids are equipped with a T-coil or tele coil, but even if your hearing aid is not equipped with a T-coil there are still options available to allow people with hearing loss to connect with looped locations. In fact, Oticon's Streamer Pro has an induction loop built into the device, allowing this connection through a push of a button.

If you need to learn more about assistive listening devices, visit your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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