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Did you know there are different degrees of hearing in many different frequencies in each of your ears? Just as everyone is unique, the level of hearing differs from person to person and is dependent on a variety of factors. For example, some people are born with a lack of hearing. Others begin to lose their hearing in one or perhaps both of their ears as they age. No matter the reason, technology has made it possible for people with hearing issues to hear sounds like never before, thanks to assistive listening devices.

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) amplify voices and other sounds you want to hear. Oftentimes, the devices work with cochlear implants or hearings aids. They're also small and discrete enough that they won't impede on your day-to-day life.

As an added benefit, there are a few different types of ALDs available to best suit your needs. Unsure of what type of device is best for you? Let's take a look at a few of the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

What are Assistive Listening Devices?

Advantages and Disadvantages of each type of ALD 

  • Hardwired Assistive Listening Devices: These ALDs are ideal for one-on-one communication and for use when watching television, conversing in a car or restaurant, or interacting in a small group setting. They're more affordable than other options and provide temporary sound amplification. They're also battery-operated and portable. Some users complain that the device's cords are too short and may restrict movement. 
  • Frequency-modulated (FM) Assistive Listening Devices: These devices are versatile and convenient for every type of listening situation. Additionally, the FM signal is stronger with this device, so it's ideal for use in outdoor settings. The device is also wire-free, so users don't have to fight with cords and seating restrictions. Drawbacks might include radio interferences when used outside, and the receiver and transmitter have to be set to the same FM frequency to work properly. Additionally, these devices are more expensive than other ALDs.
  • Infrared Assistive Listening Devices: These ALDs are great for television and music listening. They're also designed with universal receivers, so they work well with any type of infrared transmitter. Users can also isolate signals to a single room for added privacy. Additionally, because the device is wire-free, it allows for greater freedom of movement. However, the device's AC-powered transmitter might limit portability, and the infrared signal requires line-of-sight reception to function properly.
  • Induction Loop Assistive Listening Devices: These ALDs are affordable and offer wire-free reception. These devices are great for watching television and interacting in small group settings. However, these devices aren't as portable or versatile as others, and the signal strength can vary significantly in a looped area.

Types of Assistive Listening Devices

Speak with Your Doctor

If you're still unsure what device would be best for you and your needs, schedule an appointment to discuss your options with your doctor. After discussing the pros and cons of each device, he or she will help choose the device that will help your hearing the most.

Audiology, Assistive Listening Devices


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