Assistive Listening Devices

Modern hearing aids are packed full of technology. So whether you just want them to be automatic or you are looking for additional features from assistive listening devices, there's something for everyone.

What are Assistive Listening Devices?

Many hearing aid wearers wonder why they might need an assistive listening device when they have invested so much in their hearing system? After all, shouldn’t their new hearing aids mean they’re hearing better now?

The technology in modern hearing aids is exceptional. However when it comes to hearing the TV clearly, taking phone calls, hearing in noisy groups or meetings, an assistive device can give the wearer a significant advantage.

Many wearers of hearing aids (and professionals too) misunderstand the effective distance that hearing aids operate at before their performance is significantly reduced. To hear effectively we need to have what we call good signal to noise ratio (SNR). Hearing aids help to filter out noise and increase the signal (speech) so the wearer can hear effectively. Up to a distance of 6 feet all of the features within hearing aids work efficiently at filtering out this background noise. However, beyond 6 feet, their effectiveness reduces dramatically. This means that a wearer can be left feeling frustrated that their hearing aids are not performing for them in these situations.

Below are some of the most common assistive listening devices used with modern hearing aids.

TV streamer

TV Streamers

For those with hearing loss being able to hear the TV can be difficult. Hearing aids can significantly help many people however there are often those that still struggle, even with their new hearing aids. This is because many people sit further than 6 feet away. If we remember from above beyond 6 feet the effectiveness of hearing aids can be dramatically reduced.

A TV streamer will connect your hearing aids directly to the TV. This means that you’re able to hear the TV as if the speaker were standing next to you. We can also set your hearing aids so you are able to hear the room around you at the same time. This allows you to interact fully with loved ones you’re with.

Direct Phone Streaming

Direct Phone Streaming

Hearing on the phone can be difficult for many with hearing loss. For some people even with their hearing aids it can still be a struggle.

Being able to stream phone calls directly to hearing aids is available in many products now. This can either be by a direct connection or with the use of an intermediary device.

This technology also allows the wearer to stream any audio they wish from their phone, tablet or computer. This can be great for anyone wanting to connect various devices to their hearing aids.

Remote Microphone

Remote Microphones

These devices are a microphone that can be placed away from the wearer and then stream their input directly back to the wearers hearing aids. If we remember from above, a hearing aids performance reduces past a distance of 6 feet (2 metres). Some remote microphones can work up to a distance of 50 feet (15 metres). This means the wearer is able to hear as if the person/s are directly next to them.

They are great placed on a table at a gathering or meeting, or can be worn by an individual, eg lecturer. Voices can then be heard over a greater distance, without the noise.

If we look at an example of a hearing aid wearer trying to have a conversation say in a busy restaurant or meeting. At a distance of 12 feet it is unlikely they would be able to hear the conversation. If the person they were listening to was wearing a remote microphone it would transmit the speech directly. It essentially reduces the distance to zero, bypassing all the noise the hearing aid wearer was struggling to hear over.

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