While today’s hearing aids do an excellent job of helping people meet many of their communication needs, sometimes there are situations where additional technologies may be needed to overcome the negative effects of distance, background noise or poor room acoustics. That’s where assistive listening devices come in. An assistive listening device (ALD) is any type of device that can help you function better in your day-to-day communication situations. ALDs can be used with or without hearing aids.
ALDs can bring distant sounds close to your ears so that speech sounds much clearer than with hearing aids alone. In addition, when properly used, ALDs cut out most background noise because the microphone is much closer to the speaker’s mouth than it is to the surrounding background noise.
ALDs utilize various technologies and Oakland Audiology can help you choose a technology based on your unique needs. Common technologies in use today include: personal amplifiers, FM systems, infrared systems, induction loop systems and, most recently, Bluetooth systems. Bluetooth is the new wireless protocol that allows diverse devices to talk to each other.
Today’s Bluetooth options include the Oticon Streamer (www.oticon.com) which offers hands-free communication with TV, Bluetooth phones, radio, PC and music players. The Phonak iCom (www.phonak.com) connects to a host of communication and entertainment devices. Other Bluetooth ALDs include SiemensTEK (www.siemens-hearing.com) and Unite from ReSound(www.resound.com).