If a loved one in your life is having trouble hearing but hasn’t been diagnosed with hearing loss, you might want to get them an assistive listening device this holiday season. ALDs (no need to spell out the whole thing) were designed to assist people who struggle to hear in certain challenging environments communicate more effectively. They’re a great way to show somebody with a minor hearing problem in Charleston that you care about their health and well-being.
The difference between hearings aids and ALDs
Most of us think about hearing aids when we consider devices that will allow people with hearing trouble to communicate, but there is an entire category of devices that help people who have challenges hearing in certain situations but don’t necessarily need a full-fledged hearing aid.
Hearing aids and ALDs are similar in many ways. They both amplify sounds, enabling people with hearing difficulties to hear more clearly, and offer similar technology and features.
How do hearing aids work differently?
But hearing aids are programmed and fitted to match the patient’s specific hearing loss; they are highly customizable (and can cost quite a bit of money).
How do assistive listening devices work?
ALDs, by contrast, are usually hand-held amplifiers with portable microphones that improve sound transmission in certain listening situations, such as busy or noisy environments or in places where there is a good deal of distance between the speaker and listener. They can be used as personal standalone devices or in conjunction with hearing aids, helping to extend their reach and improve their effectiveness in large venues.
Types of ALDs
There are different types of ALDs for different situations. Some of the most popular ones include:
These consist of a microphone, transmitter and receiver, and rely on radio signals to transmit amplified sounds directly to your hearing aids. They are helpful in public places where background noise is present, such as classrooms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship.
Personal amplifiers are smaller versions of FM systems. They feature a built-in microphone and are best in smaller, more intimate environments where radio signals aren’t as effective. They are popular for those watching television or traveling by car.
Infrared systems are similar in concept to FM systems, but instead of using radio waves, a transmitter converts sound into infrared light, which is beamed to a receiver and then translated back into sound. Because light cannot pass through walls, infrared systems are helpful in situations where information is best kept confidential, such as in courtrooms.
Many hearing aids contain a telecoil, a wireless receiver that picks up signals from public hearing loops. Also known as induction loops, these systems transmit clear sound free of background noise directly to hearing aids using electromagnetic energy. They consist of a sound source such as a P.A. system, an amplifier and a loop of wire, and are found in many public places such as airports, movie theaters, and lecture halls.
Alerting devices such as vibrating alarm clocks, telephones that flash when ringing and closed captioning services all provide options for people who are hard of hearing.
Because ALDs are generally much less costly than hearing aids, they make great gifts. Consider purchasing one as a stocking stuffer for a friend or family member with hearing loss in Charleston this year. They’ll reap the benefits for years to come!
Learn about Hearing Aids and Apps:
- How to Choose Hearing Aids
- Hearing Aids Do More Than Aid Hearing
- Helpful Hearing Apps for Smartphone Users
Our Central Charleston Area Audiologists Office Locations
180 Wingo Way, Suite 103
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464
2295 Henry Tecklenburg Dr
Charleston, SC 29414