Assistive Listening Devices
Hearing aids are an excellent option for almost all the 40 million Americans with hearing loss. Yet, assistive listening devices (ALDs) can help anyone hear a little more during those moments when they need some extra help.
Why use ALDs if you already have a hearing aid?
Hearing aids are helpful for speech improvement but less effective in separating background noise from the spoken word. Most ALDs can raise sound from 15 to 25 decibels, enough to help you hear more clearly without losing out on essential sounds.
ALDs can work on their own if you only need a bit of amplification, but they also work well in combination with hearing aids, helping the systems amplify vital sounds a little bit more. ALDs can compensate for poor sound conditions in many listening circumstances, such as:
- Distant sounds: Sound gets less intense the farther we travel from the source, making it harder to comprehend the speaker's words.
- Poor acoustics: Wide-open spaces and rooms with restricted furnishings create low listening environments. Sound waves tend to bounce off hard surfaces, creating distortion and vibration.
- Background noise: Background noise creates disturbances, making it hard for you to concentrate on speech. As they encounter such situations, users with hearing aids have no choice but to turn up the volume. That adds to the background noise, unfortunately. ALDs isolate conflicting sounds and only raise the volume of the speaker.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices
FM devices, most widely used in educational institutions, use radio technology to transmit sound to the ears directly. The user will listen to the person speaking directly through a wireless receiver. The speaker has a microphone that is wirelessly connected to the ear of the receiver. The range is generally up to 150 feet to allow teachers to walk around the classroom without feeling restricted.
FM systems are seen as an effective tool for students with hearing loss, but they are also handy when used during outside public events.
These phones are built for people with hearing loss and allow you to raise the call volume to a level that you need to understand clearly. They also make it easier to hear high-pitched noises - the sounds that slip out of range in the early stages of hearing loss. These phones also have louder rings so that you won't ever miss a call.
They are available in both smartphone and landline models and come with additional features such as caller ID, voicemail, options for headsets, and functions for speakerphones. They also come with keypads that are backlit, photo dialing, and large keys for numbers.
Those with hearing loss can understand more clearly in classrooms, theatres, conference rooms, and other places with a hearing loop.
Also known as induction loops, these use telecoils to relay sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants directly through a magnetic field. In noisy environments and other overlapping noises, they work to minimize background noise. The flat copper tape commonly used for such systems is mounted on the floor of a public place. If a venue offers a hearing loop, the venue will carry a "T" logo.
Most ALDs allow you to understand others better. Still, others help improve your safety. These systems rely on loud sounds, visual cues, and even vibrations to alert you during emergency or routine situations. Examples include shaking alarm clocks, doorbell alerts, and blinking smoke sensors. The use of these alerting devices will make your daily life feel more protected from health and safety risks, even when you are not using your hearing aids.
When should you get a hearing aid instead?
ALDs are not meant to be worn regularly, but only when appropriate. While ALDs offer immediate benefits, hearing aids will improve listening skills over time. If you find you need support in more face-to-face situations, such as conversations in groups, it may be time for a hearing aid. Contact us today to find out more about the kinds of assistive listening devices we carry.
Hearing Conservation - Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations concerning Occupational Noise Exposure require hearing conservation programs for employees exposed to elevated levels of noise. Noise is one of the few preventable sources of hearing loss, yet it is one of the leading occupational injuries. Worker’s compensation claims for hearing loss can be prevented using proper hearing conservation programs. The professionals at Audiology Consultants can help your company develop a Hearing Conservation Program. Because we are a local company, we can work with you at your convenience and our staff will familiarize themselves with your workplace and requirements. We offer the following services:
Audiogram Review and Consultation
Audiologists review the hearing tests, determine work-relatedness and evaluate medical referrals. These are reviewed in-person, on-site and they include on-going assistance from our professional staff.
On-site training on hearing protection designed to fit your company’s specific needs.
Personal Hearing Protection
We assist employees with proper personal protection both for the workplace and for their recreational needs.
We do a walk-around survey of noise levels in areas of your company and during each individual shift to establish a baseline and determine your needs.
On-Site Hearing Tests
No long down time for employees – we come to your facility and perform the tests in an efficient and cost-effective manner. All testing is done by CAOHC certified technicians.
Data Analysis and Reporting
Hearing test and noise survey information is processed into a company-specific database and the detailed reports form your compliance program.