Amplified telephoneAmplified phones are specifically designed for people with hearing loss, allowing you to turn up the volume as necessary to hear speech clearly. You do not need to wear hearing aids to benefit from these devices. They can make it easier to hear high-pitched sounds, the same sounds many people with hearing loss are missing. These phones sometimes also feature amplified ring tones so you’ll never miss a call.
Available in both mobile and landline models, amplified phones are fully-featured with caller ID, voicemail, headset options and speakerphone. Some are helpful for people who, in addition to having hearing loss, may have visual acuity challenges too. Backlit keypads, photo dialling and large number keys make it easy to place and receive calls even if you don’t see clearly.
If you require a more portable option for phone calls at home or at the office, consider a phone amplifier which can be coupled to your existing phone. In-line amplifiers are compatible with digital and analogue phones and are suitable for people with moderate to severe hearing losses. Other portable amplifiers are appropriate for milder losses, but they can amplify the phone signal by as much as 30 decibels.
Assistive listening devices for televisionsWhen you have trouble clearly understanding or hearing the television, watching your favourite shows can become a chore. Turning up the television isn’t always the best option since it can make sound distorted and even more difficult to understand. And, when you’re watching TV with others, maxing out the volume isn’t always a popular option. There are ALD’s that can work for you whether or not you already wear hearing aids.
Many modern hearing aids are now equipped with wireless capabilities to allow for personal adjustment of the television volume and streaming of the sound directly to your hearing aids through Bluetooth-enabled accessories. Not only will you hear the TV more easily, you can keep the volume comfortable for those without hearing loss watching with you. Hearing aids equipped with a telecoil can be coupled with a neck loop or induction loop to help improve the clarity of television sound.
Some television amplifiers work even without hearing aids. For example, TV Ears® is a popular and relatively inexpensive wireless headset with a personal volume control that plugs directly into your TV’s earphone socket.
Finally, if you are not ready to buy an ALD for watching TV, closed captioning is another option for making TV more enjoyable.
FM SystemsOne of the biggest challenges for people with hearing loss is hearing in the presence of background noise, particularly in classrooms or public venues. These difficulties happen when the ratio of the speech signal from the teacher or speaker isn’t loud enough compared to the background noise. This ratio is called the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and improving it can make a big difference in hearing and understanding speech in these challenging places.
While not a new technology, an FM system is a dependable and very effective wireless technology that makes it easier to understand what others are saying in noisy situations, like classrooms or public events. The FM system consists of a transmitter microphone used by the person speaking in front of an audience and a receiver used by the hearing aid wearer. An FM system ensures the speech signal is delivered directly to both hearing aids. There are options for completely blocking out background noise while wearing it or allowing an optimal combination of speech and some background noise. These systems are widely used in schools to help children with hearing loss achieve their educational goals but they are also helpful for adults in many situations.
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Alerting devicesMost ALDs help make listening easier, but some also help you stay connected to what is going on around you and improve your safety. These alerting devices rely on amplified sounds, visual cues and even vibrations to alert you to sounds in your environment.
Some examples of alerting devices include:
- vibrating alarm clocks to help you start your day on time
- doorbell alerts that use flashing lights to let you know a visitor is at your door
- vibrating and flashing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
These devices can give you peace of mind and help keep you safe, even during those times when you may not be wearing your hearing aids.