Assistive Listening Devices and Hearing Aid Accessories
In most cases, hearing aids improve speech understanding. However, in certain situations where hearing aids alone may not be the best solution for hearing loss, Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) may be recommended. Either on their own or in addition to hearing aids, ALDs may significantly improve your hearing and your success with hearing aids.
ALDs may be most beneficial in the following situations:
- Listening in a noisy environment or from a distance
- Listening to a television or radio from across the room
- Using the telephone
- Listening in a theatre or large lecture hall
- Hearing an alarm, doorbell, or baby monitor
What Are Assistive Listening Devices?
Assistive Listening Devices are made to enhance your hearing in specific ways, depending on the situation you are in. They are meant to help people who may find themselves in certain environments more frequently than most people and want to make sure they have the best possible hearing for those environments. Here are some of the more popular examples of assistive listening devices.
FM Hearing System
FM hearing systems help amplify sound in situations that have a lot of background noise. They look similar to regular hearing amplification devices, but help with your hearing in different environments.
For example, they are great for students in class or adults at work conferences. You can place a small transmitter with a microphone close to the subject you want to hear better — such as a teacher or a podium with a speaker — while you wear a small FM receiver that sends the sound to your hearing aids.
Amplified phones work by offering amplified sound for the ringer and phone volume, so it is easier to hear phone conversations more clearly. Unlike the hearing aid phone streamers mentioned above, these do not send the sound directly to your hearing aids. They simply amplify the sound from the phone itself, and work best for people with mild to moderate loss.
Amplified Alert Systems
Even people with hearing aids will experience issues hearing various types of alerts if they aren’t wearing their hearing aids. This can be a bigger issue when they are sleeping. That’s why there are a few types of ALDs you can get with alert systems, so you do not miss them.
- Alarm clocks
- Smoke detectors
- Phone ringers
These alert systems combine louder noises with other cues such as lights flashing or vibrations. That way you can notice the alert through your other senses.
Personal amplifiers act as microphones that you can wear around your neck. They send amplified sound to headphones that you wear, instead of to hearing aids. You can get FM amplifiers as well. There are also remote versions that are great for students, churchgoers, and people in a conference or large meeting. They basically act like microphones that amplify sound from a specific area and feed the sound to your headphones.
Interested in purchasing an Assistive Listening Device?
What Are Hearing Aid Accessories?
Hearing aids are sophisticated pieces of technology. They have a variety of features and benefits to improve your hearing. Hearing aid accessories are devices that are meant to complement or add additional features and abilities.
There are a variety of accessories that may enhance your experience with hearing aids. You can pick and choose which accessories you want depending on your preferences. Some accessories are complimentary when you purchase hearing aids. You may also choose not to get any accessories.
The accessories you choose will usually need to be the same brand as your hearing aids. This is because the accessories are designed to function specifically with the same brand. However, most hearing aid manufacturers will offer a similar selection of accessories.
Types of Hearing Aid Accessories
If you’re new to hearing aids and don’t know what kind of accessories you can choose, here are the most common types:
They stream the audio from the TV to your hearing aids. However, it still plays normal audio for anyone else watching the same program, so you can share the same shows together. Each manufacturer has their own version of the television streamers.
Mobile Phone Streamer
It is a small and discreet device that plugs directly into the audio jack of your phone and allows you to fully use your phone normally. Plugging it into the phone means it does not require a battery, as it uses the power from the phone itself. It provides up to 80 hours of streaming of call or even music audio from your phone and is compatible with most smartphone models.
The remote control makes adjusting your hearing aids much easier, without needing to take your hearing aids out. It is small enough to connect to your keychain, so you can take it with you wherever you go. It allows you to adjust all the essential features of your hearing aids. You can turn them on or off, switch through your programs, adjust your volume, and so on.
The Remote Link device is the accessory required to have service appointments through WIDEX REMOTE CARE. With Remote Link and a smartphone, you can connect with your clinician for a remote appointment. Our clinician can make tuning adjustments to your hearing aids and speak with you from their office. This accessory is very useful when you need minor help with your hearing aids but don’t want to, or can’t, visit your clinic. It’s great if you’re traveling or feel sick.
Line In and FM Device Streamers
The Line In and FM Device Streamers are an FM system that streams audio from FM, telecoil, and line in signals. It is made for people who need audio streaming in classrooms, lectures, concerts, and other larger rooms with specific sources of sound. Each manufacturer has their own version of this accessory.
Most hearing aid manufacturers make products for all these types of accessories. However, you will find some differences in terms of functionality and style that can better suit your needs. Your hearing care professional will recommend a few accessories to you depending on your individual needs.
To find out which hearing aid accessories would benefit you, contact your hearing clinic.