When do I need an Assisted Listening Device (ALD)?

Once your Cross Timbers audiologist has determined the level of your, or a loved ones hearing loss it may be time to decide on a hearing aid or cochlear implant to help treat the condition. We do have some patients however, which need further assistance or other options for their hearing loss.

Our patients may ask, “What if we need more help than the hearing aid provides in certain surroundings or situations?” Cross Timbers ENT can help by walking you through all your options making sure you’re completely informed before making a decision.

One option may possibly be using an Assisted Listening Device (ALD). These are devices are designed to assist you in hearing better using technology known as Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT). Assisted Listening Devices are often used in conjunction with hearing aids or implants when further hearing assistance is indeed needed.

Assisted Listening Devices will expand the functionality of hearing aids and cochlear implants by helping separate the sounds you want to hear from background noise, and by enabling you to hear better when a speaker is more than a few feet away from you. The speaker talks into a microphone and the speech is sent straight to your ear, thus avoiding the effects of background noise or longer distances, which can muffle the sound.

Most Assistive Listening Devices consist of a microphone to collect sound, a transmitter to send the signal, a receiver to receive the signal, and any one of several different listening attachments to send the sound from the receiver to the user’s ear.

You may not need headphones. Many hearing aids and cochlear implants have what’s known as “telecoil” or “t switch”. A telecoil is a small copper coil that is an option on most hearing aids and is built into cochlear implant processors. Telecoils were originally designed to boost the magnetic signals from telephone handsets.

The telecoil is activated on the hearing aid or cochlear implant by a swtich. One major advantage of a using a telecoil is that you can turn off your normal hearing aid microphone, and thus, not hear all the noise that might be around you. You only hear the one magnetic signal you’re focused on, so you can hear it much clearer.

Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, many public accommodations such as movie theaters, auditoriums, and sports stadiums provide Assistive Listening Systems. These systems may include headsets or receivers loaned to patrons to help them hear. Many of these are already set up, where if you have a telecoil equipped hearing aid, then you can hear the signal through it.

Another question families and patients often ask is, “What if my parent, grandparent or other loved one doesn’t have or want a hearing aid, but we still need help?” Assisted listening devices can work without a hearing aid or implant. The patient who needs to hear better can simply use headphones or earbuds not unlike an iPhone or other device uses.

ALDs are a great way to hear better in locations such as sporting events, meetings, places of worship or even at home in front of the television. So, if you or a loved one discover your volume on the television is loud enough the neighbors know what you’re watching its probably time to make an appointment at one of our 2 Cross Timbers locations so we can help treat your hearing loss.