Hearing problems and hearing technology solutions. Ultrasound. Deafness. Advancing age and hearing loss. Soundwave and equalizer bars with human ear

Do you know what a cyborg is? If your mind gets swept up in science fiction movies, you most likely think of cyborgs as sort of half-human, half machine characters (these characters are usually cleverly used to touch on the human condition). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely outlandish.

But the truth is that, technically, anyone who wears a pair of glasses could be viewed as a cyborg. After all, biology has been upgraded with technology.

These technologies usually enhance the human condition. Which means, if you’re wearing an assistive listening device, such as a hearing aid, you’re the coolest type of cyborg anywhere. And the best part is that the technology doesn’t stop there.

Drawbacks of hearing loss

Hearing loss undeniably comes with some negatives.

It’s hard to follow the plot when you go see a movie. Understanding your grandchildren is even more difficult (some of that is due to the age-gap, but mostly, it’s hearing loss). And this can affect your life in extremely profound (often negative) ways.

The world can become very quiet if your hearing loss is disregarded. This is where technology comes in.

How can technology alleviate hearing loss?

“Assistive listening device” is the broad category that any device which helps you hear better is put into. That sounds rather technical, right? The question might arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Is there someplace I can go and buy one of these devices? Are there challenges to using assistive listening devices?

Those are all reasonable questions!

Typically, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. Because hearing aids are an essential part of managing hearing loss, that’s reasonable. But they’re also just the beginning, there are numerous kinds of assistive hearing devices. And, used correctly, these hearing devices can help you more fully enjoy the world around you.

What kinds of assistive listening devices are there?

Induction loops

Often called a “hearing loop,” the technology behind an induction loop sounds really complex (there are electromagnetic fields involved). This is what you need to understand: locations with hearing loops are typically well marked with signage and they can help those with hearing aids hear more clearly, even in noisy areas.

A speaker will sound clearer due to the magnetic fields in a hearing loop. Induction loops are good for:

  • Places with inferior acoustic qualities like echoes.
  • Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other noisy settings.
  • Presentations, movies, or other events that rely on amplification.

FM systems

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 required for this type of system to work. FM systems are useful for:

  • Civil and governmental locations (for example, in courtrooms).
  • Anyplace that is loud and noisy, especially where that noise makes it difficult to hear.
  • Conferences, classrooms, and other educational events.
  • Anybody who wants to listen to sound systems that use amplification (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).

Infrared systems

An infrared system is similar to an FM system. There’s an amplifier and a receiver. With an IR system, the receiver is usually worn around your neck (kind of like a lanyard). Here are some examples where IR systems can be useful:

  • Inside settings. IR systems are often effected by strong sunlight. As a result, inside settings are generally the best ones for this sort of technology.
  • People who use cochlear implants or hearing aids.
  • Scenarios where there is one primary speaker at a time.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are sort of like hearing aids, only less specialized and less powerful. Generally, they consist of a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up sounds and amplifies them through a speaker. Personal amplifiers may seem like a confusing solution since they come in various styles and types.

  • Before you use any type of personal amplifier, consult us about it first.
  • You need to be cautious, though, these devices can expedite the decline of your hearing, especially if you aren’t careful. (You’re basically putting an extremely loud speaker right inside of your ear, after all.)
  • These devices are good for people who have very mild hearing loss or only require amplification in select situations.

Amplified phones

Phones and hearing aids don’t always get along very well. Sometimes you have feedback, sometimes things get a bit garbled, sometimes you can’t get the volume quite right.

One solution for this is an amplified phone. Depending on the circumstance, these phones allow you to control how loud the speaker is. These devices are good for:

  • Individuals who don’t have their phone connected to their Bluetooth hearing aid (or who don’t have Bluetooth offered on either their hearing aids or their principal telephone).
  • Families where the phone is used by several people.
  • When somebody has difficulty hearing phone conversations but hears fine in other situations.

Alerting devices

Sometimes called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices utilize lights, vibration, or occasionally loud noises to get your attention when something happens. For example, when the doorbell dings, the phone rings, or the microwave bings. So when something around your workplace or home requires your consideration, even without your hearing aids, you’ll be conscious of it.

Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:

  • Individuals who periodically take off their hearing aids (everyone needs a break now and then).
  • Anyone whose hearing is completely or almost completely gone.
  • Circumstances where lack of attention could be hazardous (for instance, when a smoke alarm goes off).
  • When in the office or at home.


Again, we come back to the sometimes frustrating connection between your telephone and your hearing aid. The feedback that occurs when two speakers are put in front of each other isn’t pleasant. When you put a hearing aid close to a phone, the same thing occurs.

A telecoil is a way to get around that connection. 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 good for:

  • Anyone who isn’t connected to Bluetooth in any way.
  • Anybody who uses hearing aids.
  • Anybody who frequently talks on the phone.


Closed captions (and subtitles more generally) have become a normal way for people to enjoy media today. You will find captions just about everywhere! 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 together with their hearing aids so they can hear dialog even if it’s mumbled.

What are the benefits of using assistive listening devices?

So, now your greatest question may be: where can I 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.

Clearly, every individual won’t be benefited by every type of technology. If you have a cell phone with easy-to-use volume control, you might not need an amplifying phone, for example. A telecoil might not even work for you if you don’t have the right type of hearing aid.

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 understand the dialogue at the movie theater or the conversation with your grandkids.

Some situations will call for assistive listening technology and others won’t. If you want to hear better, call us today!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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