Connecting to loved ones can be challenging with hearing loss
Connecting to loved ones, friends and family can be challenging with hearing loss. There are solutions and assistive devices that can help make communication easier.
Assistive Technology can refer to any device that assists someone with hearing loss to communicate, often referring to devices that help a person to understand speech more clearly.
Several types of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are available to improve sound transmission for people with hearing loss. Some are designed for large facilities such as classrooms, theatres, airports, or places of worship.
Hearing Loop systems use electromagnetic energy to transmit sound. Because the sound is picked up by the receiver, the sound is much clearer, without as much background noise.
A hearing loop system has four parts:
- A sound source, such as a public address system, microphone, or telephone
- An amplifier
- A thin loop of wire that encircles a room or a portable, self-contained induction loop system
- A receiver is worn in the ears (T-coil in hearing aid) or as a headset
A Counter Loop System is an example of a small area system ideal for bank teller windows, information desks, store counters, museums, grocery stores, and other situations where customers/visitors need to hear what is being said.
FM Systems use radio signals to transmit amplified sounds. They are often used in classrooms where the instructor wears the microphone transmitter and the student the receiver which is tuned to a specific channel or frequency. Someone who has a telecoil in their hearing aid or a Cochlear implant may also wear a neck loop to convert the signal to the t-coil.
FM systems can transmit signals up to 300 feet but because radio signals can penetrate walls, listeners in other rooms may need to listen on a different channel to avoid mixed signals.
Personal amplifiers are useful when the above systems are unavailable or in smaller group situations. They can be used when watching TV, being outdoors, in restaurants, in professional appointments, or traveling in a car. These devices are relatively small, easily portable, and reduce background noise for the listener. The amplified sound is picked up by a receiver, either as a headset, earbuds, or directly to hearing aids or Cochlear implants.
Types of Personal Listening Systems:
- Phonak Roger System - microphones use wireless technology to amplify and clarify speech for the listener. These devices are good for communication while wearing face masks, in small meetings at work, at any appointments such as doctor or lawyer, and on social occasions - either in groups or one-on-one,
- Pocketalkers amplify sound clearly and easily for better speech recognition. The Pocketalker has a plug-in microphone, adjustable tone, and volume controls, and a TV listening extension cord. They are battery-operated and use a headset or earbuds. They can be used with or without hearing aids.
- Amplified wireless devices are available for TV and audio listening. Comfortable and easy to use, they connect to any Bluetooth device, including TVs, cell phones, MP3 players, and audio equipment. Volume control, tone, and balance allow a person with hearing loss to listen without disturbing others in the room.
- Amplified phones for landlines. While traditional phone projects incoming calls at 10 to 25 decibels, amplified phones can project up to 60+ decibels (depending on the model). They also have other features, such as a loud ringer, flashing ringer light indicator, and tone control for both the incoming voice and the ringer, and some phone systems will even slow the caller’s speech down for easy understanding. Specialized landline phones with these features come in both corded and cordless models. Some phone models have extra features such as a built-in answering machine and call display. Amplified phones can increase safety, security, and social connection for the hard of hearing individuals.
Alerting devices for your home use sound, light, vibrations, or a combination of these features to alert you when a particular event is occurring. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, doorbells, and alarm clocks are available with this technology. It is important to note that even people who wear hearing aids or Cochlear implants take them out at night and may not hear traditional alarms, especially when sleeping.
As always, our Accessibility Services team is more than ready to assist you with an assortment of devices. Our knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer all your questions and help you make the best choices for your individual hearing loss.
For a free online or phone consultation please call Kathy Harrison, Manager at 403-284-6215, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a convenient time. You may qualify for funding assistance.
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