Posted on Friday, June 21, 2013

Assistive Technology to Help Hearing

Couple hikes mountain while discussing assistive technology.

Hearing aids aren’t the only hearing loss technology that can go through radical changes and improvements. Assistive technology also known as Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) are regularly improved and upgraded by manufacturers to keep up with the scientific advances. The latest assistive technologies can aid hearing by seamlessly streaming content from television, phone, and just about any sound source.

Today's hearing aids are better able to sort through noise you want to hear, can latch onto noise in specified direction, and can be tailored to an individual's specific need. Still, there are some situations where hearing aids need a boost. Just raising the volume isn’t going to compensate for the interference from distance, poor room acoustics, or intense background noise. In these cases people with hearing loss can clarify the signal through assistive technology. Below are a few of the latest assistive technology on the market.

Oticon Streamer Pro
This assistive technology is a new 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." Oticon Streamer Pro is part of their ConnectLine. The ConnectLine is a system of assistive technology that used together can fill in the listening gaps missed in specific circumstances by hearing aids.

Phonak’s RemoteMic
This simple solution is best used in one on one conversation, say at a restaurant or when their is high background noise. 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.

Dex by Widex
Dex by Widex delivers high quality sound from television, phone, and other sound sources without delays or echoes. The battery operated Dex has ten hours of operating time in which it not only delivers sound, but has the ability to screen sound in the room through a feature called, "Room Off." According to the manufacturer, "With the TV-DEX you can temporarily switch the hearing aid’s microphone off and hear the TV sound only - we call this ‘Room Off’ - meaning you can enjoy your favourite TV programme without unnecessary background noise. "

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 Technology for the Classroom

Amigo Star by Oticon.
This system is small and powerful enough to boost hearing in the classroom and is also easily compatible with most hearing aids. According to the manufacturer, "By increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, Amigo Star combines FM with excellent sound quality to give children access to the sounds they need to hear clearly in order to make listening and concentration easier."

Roger by Phonak
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.”

Bluetooth technology has caused many of today's assistive technologies to go through a metamorphosis. When Bluetooth first became available for hearing aids, there was concern that the large battery and increase in price would keep them out of reach of individuals looking for discreet or low cost options. These issues are slowly resolving. Today's assistive technology rely on Bluetooth to provide solutions for people with hearing loss in home, office, school, and social settings. If you'd like to learn more, see 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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