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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 you get swept up in science fiction movies, you probably think of cyborgs as sort of half-human, half machine characters (these characters are typically cleverly used to touch on the human condition). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely outlandish.

But the truth is that, technically, anybody who wears a pair of glasses could be considered a cyborg. The glasses, in fact, are a technology that has been incorporated into a biological process.

The human experience is usually enhanced with these technologies. So you’re actually the coolest kind of cyborg around if you’re using an assistive listening device. And there’s a lot more technology where that comes from.

Hearing loss disadvantages

Hearing loss certainly comes with some disadvantages.

It’s hard to follow the plot when you go see a movie. Understanding your grandchildren is even harder (some of that is due to the age-gap, but for the most part, it’s hearing loss). And this can impact your life in very profound (often negative) ways.

Left untreated, the world can get pretty quiet. That’s where technology has a role to play.

How can hearing loss be managed with technology?

“Assistive listening device” is the general category that any device which helps your hearing is put into. Ok, it does sound a bit technical! The question might arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Where can I buy assistive listening devices? What challenges will I confront?

Those are all reasonable questions!

Usually, hearing aids are what we think of when we consider hearing aid technology. That’s reasonable, 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 utilize these devices.

What are the different types of assistive listening devices?

Induction loops

Often called a “hearing loop,” the technology of an induction loop sounds pretty complicated (there are electromagnetic fields involved). Here are the basics: areas with hearing loops are usually well marked with signage and they can help people with hearing aids hear more clearly, even in noisy settings.

Essentially, hearing loops use magnetic fields to make a speaker’s voice more clear. Here are some examples of when an induction loop can be helpful:

  • Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other loud places.
  • Presentations, movies, or other situations that depend on amplification.
  • Locations that tend to have a lot of echoes or have low-quality acoustics.

FM systems

These FM systems are like a walkie-talkie or radio. 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 useful for:

  • Civil and governmental locations (for example, in courtrooms).
  • An occasion where amplified sound is used, including music from a speaker or sound at a movie.
  • Education situations, such as classrooms or conferences.
  • Whenever it’s hard to hear due to a loud environment.

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). IR hearing assistance systems are ideal for:

  • Indoor settings. Bright sunlight can impact the signals from an IR system. So this type of technology works best in indoor spaces.
  • People who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.
  • Situations where there’s one primary speaker at a time.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are sort of like hearing aids, only less specialized and less powerful. In general, they feature a microphone and a speaker. The microphone detects sounds and amplifies them through a speaker. Personal amplifiers might seem like a tricky option since they come in several styles and types.

  • You need to be careful, though, these devices can expedite the decline of your hearing, particularly if you aren’t careful. (You’re essentially putting an extremely loud speaker right in your ear, after all.)
  • For people who only need amplification in certain situations or have very mild hearing loss, these devices would be a good option.
  • Before you use any kind of personal amplifier, consult us about it first.

Amplified phones

Hearing aids and phones often have difficulty with one another. The sound can get garbled or too low in volume and sometimes you can get feedback.

One solution for this is an amplified phone. These devices give you control over the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you need, depending on the circumstance. These devices are good for:

  • Individuals who don’t have Bluetooth enabled devices, like their phone or their hearing aid.
  • When multiple people in a home use a single phone.
  • When someone has difficulty hearing phone conversations but hears okay in other circumstances.

Alerting devices

When something happens, these devices (sometimes called signalers or notification devices) use loud noises, vibrations, and blinking lights to get your attention. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for instance. This means even if you aren’t wearing your hearing aids, you’ll still be alert when something around your home or office needs your consideration.

Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:

  • People who intermittently remove their hearing aids (everybody needs a break sometimes).
  • Home and office settings.
  • Anybody whose hearing is totally or nearly totally gone.
  • When alarm sounds such as a smoke detector could lead to a hazardous situation.


So the link (sometimes discouraging) between your hearing aid and phone comes to the front. The feedback that occurs when two speakers are put in front of each other is not pleasant. This is essentially what occurs when you put a phone speaker close to a hearing aid.

A telecoil is a way to get around that connection. It will link up your hearing aid to your phone directly, so you can listen to all of your conversations without interference or feedback. They’re great for:

  • Anyone who frequently talks on the phone.
  • Those who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
  • Anybody who uses hearing aids.


Nowadays, it has become fairly commonplace for people to utilize captions and subtitles to enjoy media. You will find captions pretty much everywhere! Why? Because they make it a little easier to understand what you’re watching.

When you’re dealing with hearing loss, captions can work in conjunction with your hearing aids, helping you understand mumbled dialogue or making sure you can hear your favorite show even when there’s distracting conversation near you.

The advantages of using assistive listening devices

So where can you get assistive listening devices? This question implies a recognition of the advantages of these technologies for individuals who use hearing aids.

To be sure, not every solution is right for every person. For example, you may not need an amplifier if you have a phone with reliable volume control. A telecoil may not even work for you if you don’t have the right kind of hearing aid.

The point is that you have choices. After you begin personalizing 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 movies or the conversation with your grandkids.

Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in some situations but not all. Call us right away so we can help you hear better!

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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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