Are you familiar with what a cyborg is? If you get swept up in science fiction movies, you probably think of cyborgs as kind of half-human, half machine characters (the human condition is often cleverly depicted with these characters). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely bizarre.
But in reality, somebody wearing something as simple as a pair of glasses could be considered a cyborg. The glasses, in fact, are a technology that has been integrated into a biological process.
These technologies typically add to the human experience. So, if you’re wearing an assistive listening device, such as a hearing aid, you’re the coolest kind of cyborg anywhere. And there’s much more technology where that comes from.
Hearing loss disadvantages
There are absolutely some negative aspects that come with hearing loss.
It’s difficult to keep up with the plot when you go see a movie. Understanding your grandchildren is even harder (some of that is because of the age-gap, but mostly, it’s hearing loss). And it can be profound (and often negative) how much your life can be affected.
Left untreated, the world can get pretty quiet. This is where technology comes in.
How can hearing loss be managed with technology?
“Assistive listening device” is the broad category that any device which helps your hearing is put into. That sounds rather technical, right? The question might arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Where can I get assistive listening devices? Are there challenges to utilizing assistive listening devices?
These questions are all standard.
Mostly, we’re used to thinking of technology for hearing loss in a very monolithic way: hearing aids. That’s logical, as hearing aids are an essential part of managing hearing loss. But hearing aids aren’t the only type of assistive hearing device. And you will be capable of enjoying the world around you more when you correctly use these devices.
What types of assistive listening devices are there?
Induction loops, also known as hearing loops, utilize technology that sounds quite complex. Here are the basics: individuals who wear hearing aids can hear more clearly in areas with a hearing loop which are normally well marked with signage.
Basically, hearing loops use magnetic fields to make a speaker’s voice more clear. Induction loops are good for:
- Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other loud places.
- Presentations, movies, or other events that depend on amplification.
- Locations with inferior acoustic qualities like echoes.
An FM hearing assistance system works much like a radio or a walkie-talkie. A transmitter, usually a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, like a hearing aid, are needed for this type of system to function. FM systems are great for:
- An occasion where amplified sound is used, including music from a speaker or sound at a movie.
- Civil and governmental locations (for example, in courtrooms).
- Conferences, classrooms, and other educational activities.
- Whenever it’s difficult to hear due to a noisy environment.
There are similarities between an infrared system and an FM system. You have an amplifier and a receiver. Usually, the receiver is worn around the neck with an IR system. IR hearing assistance systems are ideal for:
- Scenarios where there’s one main speaker at a time.
- Individuals who have cochlear implants or hearing aids.
- Inside environments. Strong sunlight can impact the signals from an IR system. So this kind of technology works best in inside spaces.
Personal amplifiers are like less specialized and less powerful versions of a hearing aid. They’re generally made of a speaker and a microphone. The sound is being amplified through the speakers after being picked up by the microphone. Personal amplifiers come in numerous different types and styles, which might make them a challenging possible option.
- For individuals who only need amplification in certain situations or have very slight hearing loss, these devices would be a good choice.
- Before you use any type of personal amplifier, consult us about it first.
- Your basically putting a very loud speaker right inside of your ear so you need to be cautious not to damage your hearing further.
Phones and hearing aids don’t always get along very well. Sometimes you have feedback, sometimes things get a little garbled, sometimes you can’t have a hard time getting the volume quite right.
Amplified phones are a solution. These devices allow you to have control of the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you want, depending on the circumstance. These devices are good for:
- People who only have a hard time hearing or understanding conversations on the phone.
- Households where the phone is used by numerous people.
- Individuals who don’t have Bluetooth enabled devices, like their phone or their hearing aid.
Often called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices utilize lights, vibration, or occasionally loud noises to get your attention when something occurs. For instance, when the doorbell dings, the phone rings, or the microwave bings. This means even if you aren’t using your hearing aids, you’ll still be alert when something around your home or office needs your attention.
Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:
- Situations where lack of attention could be hazardous (for instance, when a smoke alarm sounds).
- When in the office or at home.
- Individuals who periodically take off their hearing aids (everybody needs a break sometimes).
- Anyone whose hearing is totally or nearly totally gone.
Again, we come back to the occasionally frustrating connection between your telephone and your hearing aid. The feedback that happens when two speakers are held in front of each other isn’t pleasant. This is essentially what happens when you put a phone speaker close to a hearing aid.
That connection can be avoided by a telecoil. You will be able to hear all of your calls without feedback as your telecoil connects your hearing aid directly to your phone. They’re great for:
- Individuals who have hearing aids.
- Individuals who use the phone frequently.
- Individuals who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
These days, it has become rather commonplace for people to utilize captions and subtitles to enjoy media. Everybody uses captions! Why? Because they make it a little easier to understand what you’re watching.
For individuals with hearing loss, captions will help them be able to understand what they’re watching even with loud conversations around them and can work in tandem with their hearing aids so they can hear dialog even when it’s mumbled.
The advantages of using assistive listening devices
So where can you buy assistive listening devices? That’s a good question because it means you’ve acknowledged how all of these technologies can be advantageous to those with hearing loss.
Obviously, every person won’t be benefited by every type of technology. For instance, you may not need an amplifier if you have a phone with good volume control. If you don’t have the right kind of hearing aid, a telecoil might be useless to you.
The point is that you have choices. After you start customizing your journey toward being an awesome cyborg, you will be ready to get the most out of your life. So you can more easily hear the dialogue at the movies or the conversation with your grandchildren.
Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in specific situations but not all. Call us as soon as possible so we can help you hear better!