Are you having trouble hearing? Do you hesitate to call friends or family because you don’t want to keep asking them to repeat themselves? Do you shy away from performances or classes because you can’t catch what’s being said? Do you turn the television up so loud the people next door hear it?
Hearing aids are one way to address hearing loss. But they’re not the only tool in the auditory care toolbox. In some situations, using certain kinds of assistive listening devices – either alone or in conjunction with hearing aids or cochlear implants – can provide a big quality-of-life improvement for people with hearing loss.
At Sharp Hearing Care Professionals, Dr. Kevin Sharim and his team of audiologists and hearing aid specialists excel at figuring out a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific hearing needs. We work with you to determine the approach that best suits your needs. If that approach includes assistive listening devices, we recommend products that are right for you.
Many people with hearing loss are unfamiliar with assistive listening devices. With that in mind, we’d like to tell you about some of the available devices and share information with you about whether you might benefit from using one or more of these specialized products.
What are assistive listening devices?
Assistive listening devices – also known as assistive listening systems or assistive listening technology – are products other than hearing aids that are designed to help you hear and/or understand sound better.
Now is an exciting time for people who can benefit from assistive listening devices. As advances are made in wireless and digital technology, a growing number of devices are becoming available for people who need help hearing or understanding what is being said, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders.
Assistive listening devices do more than just amplify sound. They also help deliver sound to you in a way that makes it easier for you to understand, both by augmenting certain sounds and by minimizing background noises and other distractions that interfere with comprehension.
Types of assistive listening devices
Several kinds of devices are available. They include:
Hearing loop systems
Also known as induction loop systems, these products use the latest technology to connect a personal hearing device, such as a hearing aid, to amplified sound produced in a public venue such as a theater, music hall, church, classroom, or even an airport.
These devices pick up sound with a microphone and transmit it via FM radio signals to your hearing aid or another type of receiver that you place in your ear.
Like FM systems, these types of devices amplify and transmit sound from one place to another. However, an infrared system conveys sound via light waves rather than radio signals.
Personal sound amplifiers
These cell phone-sized devices amplify sound while helping to minimize background noises. Sound enters through a microphone and is transmitted to a headset or earbuds that you wear.
Hearing aid-compatible smartphones
In many cases, hearing aids can be connected directly to your smartphone. Doing so can improve your ability to have phone conversations and listen to audiobooks, music, movies, and other performances. Certain types of hearing aids may also be connected directly to computers, smart televisions, and other electronic devices, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Choosing an assisted listening device
The assistive listening devices that might help you depend on the type of hearing loss you are experiencing and the situations in which you need extra assistance. To determine which solution(s) might be best for you, our care providers evaluate your hearing and your lifestyle. Then, we recommend products that can have the greatest potential impact on your quality of life.
Now hear this!
If you’re experiencing hearing loss or any other kind of auditory problem, you can count on the providers at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals to diagnose and treat you with the utmost care and sensitivity.
In addition to assistive listening devices, we provide a full range of services, including hearing tests, hearing aid fitting, and earmolds, as well as evaluation and treatments for hearing loss, tinnitus, misophonia, hyperacusis, and other types of hearing-related conditions.
Don’t wait any longer to receive life-improving hearing care. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharim and our team at Sharp Hearing Care Professionals by contacting one of our offices, which are conveniently located in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, West Hills, and Santa Monica, California.