Types of ALDs
There are numerous ALDs available today, from sophisticated systems used in theaters and auditoriums to small personal systems used by the individual in his or her daily life. ALDs allow a person to hear others speak and participate in conversations.
Personal Listening Systems
There are several types of personal listening systems available. All are designed to carry sound from the speaker (or other source) directly to the listener and to minimize or eliminate environmental noises. Some of these systems, such as auditory trainers, are designed for classroom or small group use. Personal frequency modulated (FM) systems and personal amplifiers are especially helpful for one-to-one conversations in places, such as automobiles, meeting rooms, and restaurants.
TV Listening Systems
TV listening systems are designed for hearing the TV, radio, or stereo without interference from surrounding noise or the need to use excessively high volume. Models of TV listening systems are available for use with or without hearing aids. These systems allow the family to set the volume of the TV, while the user adjusts only the volume of his or her own hearing requirements.
Direct Audio Input Hearing Aids
Direct audio input hearing aids are hearing devices with direct audio input connections, which are usually wires. These wires can be connected to the TV, stereo, and radio, as well as to microphones, auditory trainers, personal FM systems, and other assistive devices.
Telephone Amplifying Devices
Most, but not all, standard telephone receivers can be used with hearing aids. These phones are called “hearing aid compatible.” The option on the hearing aid to be utilized with landline phones is called the T-Coil. The T-coil is automatically activated on some hearing aids and manually activated on others. Basically, the telephone and the hearing aid’s T-coil communicate with each other electromagnetically, allowing the hearing aid to be used at a comfortable volume without feedback and with minimal background noise.
You should be able to get a hearing-aid-compatible telephone amplifying device from your phone company or almost any retail store that sells telephones. Not all hearing aids have “T” switch technology. Make sure your hearing aids have a T-coil switch before purchasing a new hearing-aid-compatible phone! There are dozens of T-coil and telephone coupling systems. Speak with your Hearing Health Care Provider to get the most appropriate system for your needs.
Modern hearing aids can be used with most cell phones. Importantly, digital hearing aids and digital phones may create constant noise or distortion. There may be significant problems for some hearing aids when used with particular cell phones. Regarding “hands free” cell phone systems, there are many from which to choose, and hearing-impaired users usually benefit maximally by using binaural hands-free systems.
Speak with your hearing specialist before you buy a cell phone or hearing aids.