Gadgets required for Assistive Listening is known as Assistive Listening Devices (ALD), or Assistive Listening Systems. These gadgets are really important for those suffering from hearing loss. They amplify sound when the user is in a noisy environment. Some of the popular gadgets for assistive listening are discussed here.
- Personal Amplifier
This gadget is helpful for the one-to-one conversation. It comes with a mic and attached listening chord. This should be attached to the clothing of person you are talking to, then plug it into the amplifier. It costs around $200. The only limitation of this device is that it restricts your mobility. It is useful for watching TV, being outdoors, or traveling in a car.
- FM Systems
It overcomes limitations of the personal amplifier. This allows mobility and helps in hearing a more distant sound. This wireless device uses Radio Broadcasting Technology. The speaker needs to wear a microphone transmitter. It costs up to $700 to $1,000 on an average. FM System can transmit signals up to 300 feet. It can be used as both, a personal system as well as a larger system. It is incompatible with other FM Devices, as it is using high frequency.
- Infrared Systems
This system uses light-based technology or infrared system to transmit sound. It works similar to FM System. This is a high-tech system which guarantees privacy as lights cannot penetrate through walls. Although it has some limitation, i.e. the signals get interrupted if an object or a person comes in between the listener and the emitter. This system does not perform well in a strong light environment such as sunlight. This system is suitable for some situations but less flexible as compared to FM System. Transmitter converts sound into light signals, then receiver decodes this signal to sound. They are also helpful for television hearing.
- Induction Loop Systems
Hearing Aids with a built-in telecoil have an alternate option i.e. an induction loop system. The electromagnetic field is used as a sound carrier in this system.
Four parts of the loop system:
- A sound source
- A thin loop of wire
This system is inexpensive, versatile and used for a single telecoil hearing aid user or a group. There is no mobility issue with this system and even non-hearing aid users can also use it.
- Sound Field System
These are a type of hidden speakers resembling lunch box or books, often used in schools to bring sound closer to the ear. The system is really useful for those having a mild hearing loss. This system is useful for both hearing aid wearers and cochlear implant, through a microphone. One of the most interesting features of this system is that it uses the concept of “electronic curb cut”.
This technology is the latest innovation for the hearing aid wearers, but are not yet available. This technology helps two devices to be connected such as cell phones or computer and wireless hearing aid, with a compatible streamer to talk to each other. Though its range is limited to about 20 feet, without any interference and secure connection of this technology, one can overcome all its flaws. Even with one streamer user can switch back and forth between multiple devices such as phones, tablets, or iPods.