Whether the goal is watching TV in peace without bothering others, ensuring a conversation on the phone is understood, or listening to things in public or at events, an assistive listening device can significantly impact the quality of life. These devices alleviate the stress that comes with being hard of hearing. They help by providing relief from feeling left out of events and no longer asking others to repeat themselves.
What is an Assistive Listening Device?
An assistive listening device (ALD) helps amplify the sounds you want to hear. They are especially effective in situations where there is a substantial amount of background noise. These devices can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant and help a wearer hear specific sounds clearer.
What Are the Uses for ALDs?
The most common use of these devices is to help individuals experience a better, more fulfilling life than without the assistive listening device when they are struggling to hear things. Some uses include:
- Helping in communicating in one-on-one conversations, such as speaking with a family member at a large gathering.
- Hearing better in public places, including classrooms, theaters, places of worship, and airports.
ALDs are meant to be helpful in everyday life and not impede the movement or activities of those using them. The benefits of these devices are using them in small and large spaces and with either an individual or a group of others.
What to Look for in an ALD
When looking for a listening device, it is essential to make sure it fits into the user’s lifestyle. The easier they are to use, the more they will be used. ALDs come in several styles, such as earbuds and over-the-ear headphones. Some have microphones and can connect to a cell phone or tablet for easy listening. Be sure to select a device that has easy-to-use display buttons for volume and power.
There are also many accessories available. Charging bases, lanyards, and belt clip packages can be purchased. Options like neckloops or stetoclips are also available. Suffering from hearing loss does not have to mean missing out on personal conversations, concerts, church gatherings, or other daily events that make life fulfilling. An assistive listening device can be the perfect solution.
How to Communicate with Someone with Hearing Loss
People who are hard of hearing may hide their condition, making it tricky when trying to communicate with them. Here are some tips on how to have the best conversation possible with someone who has hearing loss, whether it’s a recent event or if they have been hard of hearing for their entire life.
Many people will let you know they can’t hear or have trouble doing so, while they’ll keep it hidden for others. You may notice how they don’t seem to be paying attention. It’s best to make complete eye contact and smile. If you’re somewhere where you have to wear a mask, you can get clear ones, so they can lip-read and see your facial expressions.
Not everyone can do sign language, but if you’re out in public, providing directions with your hands is a universal way to direct them to where they need to go.
If they still can hear to some extent, it’s okay to raise your voice slightly, but do so at a normal or slower pace, but never yell. Always be respectful.
Try to simplify your interaction as much as possible. For example, someone may be asking you a question or participating in a social event, but they don’t want to spend several minutes on one topic.
Encourage your friends, family, or colleagues with hearing loss to research hearing amplifiers. These are small devices that amplify sound to enable someone with hearing loss to better participate in social interactions or perform well at work.
These assistive listening devices aren’t what your grandparents used last century. Instead, they utilize modern technology to amplify what others are saying and block unnecessary background noise.
According to a University of Alberta study, many people with hearing loss are embarrassed by it, keeping them from seeking assistive listening devices for the deaf. However, once they reach the acceptance stage, they can seek ways to improve their interaction with other people.
A person who has hearing loss who uses assistive listening devices can experience a better life. If you have a friend or family member with hearing loss, we encourage you to reach out to them about assistive listening devices. Soon they’ll be back to socializing and having an everyday happy life again!