Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

or Hearing Assistance Technology (HAT)

There are many listening situations in everyday life where a hearing aid or a cochlear implant may not provide the most optimal solution to a difficult hearing related situation. For example, you may hear fine in one-on-one situations without hearing aids if you have a mild hearing loss, but you experience more difficulty in a theatre or conference setting. Or you wear hearing aids during the day, but have trouble hearing the alarm to wake up in the morning or the telephone at night when you are not wearing hearing aids.

There are a broad range of products to help in these kinds of situations. As a group, these devices are referred to as Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) or Hearing Assistance Technology (HATs). ALDs or HATs include auditory and non-auditory devices.

These devices include:

Telephone Reception

Telephone amplifiers can replace the standard telephone handset or attach between the handset and telephone. Telephones with built in amplifiers with different frequency responses are available in both standard and wireless models. These telephone devices can be used with or without hearing aids.

Visual technology

These include texting, instant messaging, TTYs (text telephone yoke or teletypewriter or TDDs (telecommunication device for the deaf). To improve listening at a meeting or live event, Communication Access Real Time Translation (CART) or Computer Assisted Note taking (CAN) is available.

Television Viewing Technology

These include closed captioning and wireless systems such as infrared devices, silhouette and neck loop inductors along with hard wired systems.

Alerting Devices and Signaling Devices

Alerting and signaling devices allow people with severe or profound hearing loss to be alerted in situations at home, work or everyday life. These include: buzzer for the doorbell, smoke, carbon monoxide and telephone signalers, coded flashing lights, strobe light devices, vibration devices and hearing dogs.

FM Systems

FM systems consist of a transmitter worn by the speaker and a receiver worn by the listener. The FM system operates on specific frequencies and allows the speech signal to be delivered with reduced background noise to the listener’s headset or the hearing aids or cochlear implant. FM systems are utilized in classrooms, lectures, business meetings, convention centers, theatres, nursing homes and public meeting places.

Infrared Devices

Infrared Devices deliver sound with infrared waves to your headset receiver.  The head set receiver has an adjustable volume control which allows the wearer to adjust the sound to a desired listening level while the TV remains at a comfortable listening level for people with normal hearing sensitivity.  Infrared devices can be used at home with the television but can also be found in public venues such as theaters.

Induction Loop Systems

Induction loop systems are designed to work with hearing aids typically in large group settings. The induction loop picks up the signal from the speaker’s microphone and transmits and electromagnetic signal to the listener’s T-Coil on his/her hearing aids. Induction loop systems are typically used in large group settings (i.e. church, movie theatre) but can they can also be used for individual use.

Hearing assistance technology devices are not readily available in retail stores. There a variety of auditory and non-auditory systems available to assist you with your everyday listening needs. A licensed audiologist can help you determine the best hearing assistance system or combination of assistive listening devices best suited for your communication needs.