Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Technology for Assistive Listening Devices

Phonak's ComPilot is a popular assistive listening device.

For someone with hearing loss, person-to-person communication can sometimes be difficult due to poor room acoustics, a greater distance to the speaker, and background noise. In these situations, hiring the volume isn’t going to make things clearer. Today’s advances in assistive listening devices (ALD) have lead to a revolution of products that can help filter unwanted noise and deliver conversation directly from person to person.

In the past, in order to use an assistive listening device, you needed three pieces of equipment paired with a hearing aid—a microphone, a transmitter, and a receiver. Now, Oticon and Phonak have developed Bluetooth® enabled microphones that capture and transmit sounds to a separate receiver. That means a remote microphone sends sound directly to an Assistive listening devices (ALD) cutting out the middleman. This allows hard of hearing people to enjoy various acoustical environments without an excess of equipment. The benefit of these devices is that they help with distracting background noise and acoustical reverberations.

When to Use A Remote Microphone with an Assistive Listening Device

• There is a greater distance from the listener and the sound source impeding normal listening.
• Background noise is louder than the sound a listener wishes to focus upon.
• The acoustics within the room muffle or distort sounds.
• Reverberations in the structure, under foot, above or all around create distraction or disrupt sound entirely.

How to Use a Remote Microphone

A remote microphone is a Bluetooth® enabled product used to improve person-to-person communication. It is a simple product clipped on the collar of the person speaking and sent directly to an ALD.

Remote Microphone Features:

Phonak’s Remote Microphone:
• Up to 8 hours battery usage time.
• Fix omnidirectional microphone.
• Easy to operate clip.
• The full hearing instrument bandwidth support, for natural sounding speech.
• Separate volume control buttons.

Oticon’s Remote Microphone:
• Works at a distance of up to 15 meters
• Wireless operation
• Sturdy clip attaches to speaker’s clothing
• Filters out surrounding noise
• Rechargeable battery with hours of usage

Needed Devices for Proper Remote Microphone Usage

Remote Microphone: The remote microphone captures and transmits sound from the wearer of this product to a receiver worn on the listener. This digital sound information is sent via Bluetooth technology.
Receiver: Receivers or ALD are worn around the neck of the person with hearing loss. They collect sound from the remote microphone and relay it directly to the hearing aids. In choosing an ALD, you should know which assistive listening system your hearing aids most easily support.

Popular Assistive Listening Devices
Phonak Com Pilot-- Phonak ComPilot works with hearing aids to enhance sound and connect your hearing aid to wireless systems, TVs, MP3 players and phones. It had a built in remote control and is the first accessory to offer the benefit of spoken messages, making it easier than ever to interact with your hearing aids.

Widex Dex Accessories-- DEX for television helps with unnecessary delays and echoes that can sometimes happen when listening to television. The DEX system transmits wirelessly to hearing aids without delay and with no echo. It allows up to ten hours of use without recharging.

Oticon's Amigo-- Noise, distance to speaker, poor acoustics can all be overcome with the extra boost from Oticon's Amigo and assistive listening device designed for classrooms and living rooms or smaller office settings. This FM system bridges the distance between the speaker and the hearer by improving signal to noise ratio.

When a listening environment poses challenges for hearing aids, such as background noise or greater distance to the speaker, an auditory assistive listening device can help bridge the gap. Assistive listening devices serve an important function, allowing people with hearing loss the same accessibility to information and communication as people with average hearing.

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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