Hearing Loops & Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing loops and assistive listening devices are an extension of modern hearing technology. They provide a technical advantage over normal devices that might not be powerful enough for a hearing aid user. Professionals at The Center for Audiology will make recommendations when necessary. It is a great way to introduce hearing aid enhancements into a patient’s daily life.
Hearing aids and loops
Hearing aids are devices that make sound easier to understand. More importantly, there are many types of hearing aid styles available. Some are made for lifestyle choices, and others are made for their accessibility.
- Invisible-In-The-Canal – A custom fitted hearing aid that goes the deeper than any other style. They are meant for daily use, which is why some variants are disposable.
- Completely in canal – Not as invisible as IIC, but still hard to spot when wearing. They are a good design choice that has higher ear compatibility than IIC devices.
- In the canal – Similar to CIC, but made to handle severe hearing loss. The tradeoff is it is slightly more noticeable than the other two canal styles.
- In-The-Ear – For a lot of patients the in the ear style is very comfortable. It custom fits to the outer portion of the ear, and is much easier to maintain for cleaning or battery changes.
- Receiver in canal – This device breaks up the hearing aid into two specific pieces. The speaker that goes directly in the ear, and the base that connects the wires to the speakers. It is a discreet, comfortable, open fit that doesn’t block the ear canal.
- Behind the ear – Behind the ear is the most visible hearing aid, but also the most powerful. For moderate to profound hearing loss, it has many options to enhance sound naturally.
Telecoils are important for users that want to wirelessly connect to public facilities equipped with hearing loops. Loops get rid of background noise so that the hearing aid user can separate speech properly. Not all hearing aids support telecoil features, so it is best to check with a professional about supported brands.
Assistive listening devices
Hearing loss varies from person to person, especially when age is part of the equation. Assistive listening systems and devices were built with the idea of minimizing the amount of places where hearing loss is a factor. At home or away, patients should feel confident about the capabilities of their hearing devices.
- Personal amplifiers – These small boxes cut out most background noise and are fantastic as one on one listening tools. Personal amplifiers also include a mic input for better listening options.
- FM systems – FM systems are mobile personal amplifiers that use radio broadcast technology. Working from several feet away, the system uses wireless speakers. Depending on the brand, 150+ feet of distance is entirely realistic.
- Infrared systems – When privacy is a concern, infrared system are an ideal choice. Instead of radio waves, it transmits sound using light waves. This is also the most expensive assisted listening setup. Infrared systems are mostly found in professional settings where privacy is needed.
- Induction loop systems – Hearing aids with built in telecoils have access to an induction loop system. This is the easiest of the devices to set up, and also the most inexpensive. The loop connects to a compatible amplifier and microphone of the users choosing.
- Bluetooth – Hearing aids with built in Bluetooth technology are both secure and easy to set up. Several modern devices use Bluetooth to connect to smartphones, tablets, and tv. They are designed to pair within seconds of being turned on.