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Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive Listening Systems (ALSs), also known as Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), are essentially amplifiers that bring sound directly into the ear.  They separate the sounds, particularly speech, that a person wants and needs to hear from background noise. Assistive Listening Devices improve what is known as the “speech to noise ratio.”

If you want to be able to hear better in any environment and not miss out on anything important, then Assistive Listening Devices may be for you! It will help make your life easier and more enjoyable by giving you back some of your independence. You can enjoy conversations with friends or family without having them repeat themselves over and over again or shout at you across the room just so you can understand them. And it doesn’t matter if there’s loud music playing or other people talking nearby – these devices will allow you to focus on what’s most important.

Assistive listening devices, or ALDs, are a must-have for anyone who struggles to hear. Whether you’re struggling with hearing loss due to aging or overuse of your ears from years in the military service as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist (EOD), there’s no excuse not having one. With their portable speakers and microphones that pick up sound waves outside of human range, these nifty gadgets can be used when we need them most.

In addition to assisting people with hearing impairments on everyday tasks like watching television at home alone, ALDs also come in handy during travel.

The most common hearing aids today are analog, but many people have shifted to digital. So what is the difference?

In recent years, ALDs (Assistive Listening Devices) such as FM systems and amplifiers have become more popular with customers who need a little help listening. The first step in determining which device best suits your needs is understanding how they work – whether it’s analogue or digital hearing devices that you use on a regular basis.

Basic Parts of an Assistive Listening Device

Assistive Listening Devices have three components – a device for receiving the signal, transmission technology and a microphone.

Why are Assistive Listening Devices necessary?

People who are hard of hearing often require a volume increase to have normal understanding. ALS systems, or sound amplifiers that work without the use of batteries, allow them to achieve this gain for themselves while not making it too loud for everyone else around them.

Can Assistive Listening Devices Be Used By Some People Who Are Deaf?

ALDs are a revolutionary piece of technology that has been designed to assist those with hearing loss. It can be used by people who wear hearing aids, as well as cochlear implant users  and non-users alike.

Hearing aids or cochlear implants are not always the best hearing devices on a person’s journey with sound. Assistive Listening Devices can be described as “binoculars for the ears” because they allow sounds to reach people in more situations and from farther away than traditional devices do, which is especially helpful when some of these individuals have trouble telling where noises come from.

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You may also be at risk of poking or injuring your ear – you could injure the inner ear or eardrum instead of removing anything from within.

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Where can assistive listening devices be used?


ALDs help deaf and hard of hearing people in three ways: they minimize background noise, reduce the effect of distance between sound source and listener, as well as override poor acoustics. 

Assistive Listening Devices are used in places such as entertainment venues like theaters or concerts. It can also be used while at work, in the classroom or while driving.

What are the types of Assistive Listening Devices?

Assistive Listening Devices may either use infrared, FM or inductive loop technologies. All these technologies work well and have their own set of pros and cons.

FM Systems

FM systems are assistive listening devices with radio broadcasting technology, often used in educational settings. They offer a range of transmitting options including portable body-worn transmitters that are easy to use and operate as well as miniaturized receivers that fit onto hearing aids via “boots”.

FM Systems is a smaller type of receiver designed to be compatible with an individual’s hearing loss. It must be dispensed by a professional hearing aid dispenser and is thus more expensive than traditional FM systems. This system also operates on a higher frequency, making it incompatible with other FM systems.

Infrared Systems

Infrared Systems are advanced assistive listening devices that utilize light-based technology. They guarantee privacy because light does not pass through walls. Infrared systems are often installed in places such as courtrooms where it is necessary to preserve confidentiality when litigants are present, and they may also be designed and marketed for use in television listening.

Inductive Loop Systems

Wide area loop systems make use of an electromagnetic field to deliver sound. This design offers convenience for groups of t-coil hearing aid users because they do not require body worn receivers. They can also be used by non-hearing aid users through use of a headphone and inductive loop receiver. 

Amplified telephones

Amplified telephones are specially made for people with hearing loss. This gives you the opportunity to turn up the volume as necessary so that you can understand what is being spoken clearly. These amplified phones come in corded or cordless options, and connectivity through analog phone lines (POTS) or digital networks such as Verizon’s Digital Voice (VoIP), Magic Jack®, Vonage® Internet Phone Service, AT&T U-Verse® VoIP Phone Service, and many other service providers. 

If you’re having trouble hearing conversations, cutting through background noise, or understanding high-pitched sounds like birds and alarms–assistive listening devices can help. By bypassing any issues with your ears, the amplified telephones allow you to hear clearly–no matter what. These phones have a special amplification system that helps protect against unwanted noises in your environment while making it easier to understand high-pitched sounds that many people with hearing loss miss.

Hearing aid compatible phones

Sounds from a hearing aid compatible phone travel through the phone speaker and directly into your ear. This is possible because, by law, all telephone manufacturers must make their products compatible with hearing aids. Phones which use an acoustic coupling are equipped with either a direct sound tube or a T-coil that helps to amplify and focus sound for users on one side of the conversation only. 

Acoustic coupling – Acoustic coupling is an innovative and stylish device that will pick up and amplify sounds from the phone as well as any other noise around you. If your phone has a speaker, it can be effortlessly paired to the acoustic coupling, which then lets you use two different devices at once in order to enjoy music on high-quality sound systems or share a conversation without having to maneuver around crowded spaces. 

Telecoil coupling – Telecoil coupling has a special telecoil that picks up the phone signal for amplification. This gives you much clearer conversations with less background noise.

A telecoil coupling is a type of hearing reference device (a medical device used by people with hearing loss) that turns the amplified signal from an audiometer into a magnetic field and then captures it in the receiver. This allows people to better understand speech, typically by placing the receiver against the ear canal. Throughout this experience, noise such as machinery or other background voices are blocked out entirely. Telecoils in modern hearing aids block out background noise while amplifying sound for crystal clarity level so you can hear everything around you.

Assistive listening devices for televisions

ALDs for TV can help, whether or not you wear hearing aids. Hearing loss is a real and growing problem with an estimated 360 million people around the world who suffer from it. Whether in-terms of professional use (e.g., fitting musicians before a performance), or just as part of one’s general life – like watching television shows with others – hearing loss reduces one’s ability to take in social information while also making acoustic signals less clear and easier to miss.

All televisions already have built-in TV hearing aids in lieu of any assistive listening devices. So if you are hearing impaired, the best ALDs to buy are ones that work with your current hearing aids.

The Importance of ALDS

Hearing aids are incredible devices that can help people with hearing loss. If you have unique needs or aren’t quite ready for a device, there is still hope! Assistive listening devices allow the best possible experience in your environment and fit many different lifestyles so they might be more suited to what you need now.

Assistive Listening Devices - Rochester, NY

To know more about assistive listening devices and how they can help make life easier, our team at Ontario Hearing Center are more than happy to assist you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!