Assistive listening devices are used to help people hear properly. Problems in hearing could be with the comprehension of various frequency levels. These devices are not specific to people with impaired hearing ability. In fact, people with normal hearing capacity also use them. People with impaired hearing can use assistive devices in combination with hearing aids that are being already used. Sounds that get mixed in loud background noise can be singled out or heard properly with such devices. There are different types of devices which make use of various forms of technology. Let us understand more about them.
Types of Assistive Listening Devices
There are basically two ways of assisting people to hear clearly. The first method is to amplify the sound reaching the listeners' ears, while the second method involves blocking all other sounds except the desired ones from reaching the ears.
Devices for the Hearing Impaired
FM (frequency modulation) listening systems can prove to be of great help for people with hearing disorders. These devices use a transmitter microphone-receiver based communication system. The system is used to connect the speaker to the listener. FM listening systems have different applications as follows: in classroom lectures, sales meetings, restaurants, senior centers, nursing homes, museums, theaters, etc. FM systems are actually a variation of FM radios. The radio signals sent by FM systems are detected by receivers (generally pocket-sized).
The main purpose of using such devices for children is overcoming noise in classrooms. Sound distortions which take place due to chaotic surroundings can be minimized with these devices. FM listening systems have applications in many places including classrooms. Sounds that are important are amplified with these devices. The benefit of using FM systems for children is that the voice of teachers reach them without sound distortions; clarity of sound remains the same, irrespective of the distance between children and teachers.
Devices for TV
Infrared systems can be used in the transmission of sound by means of infrared light waves. Individual sound receivers which come with TV sets are used in adjusting the volume to desired levels. In this technology, TV signals are transmitted to the individual receivers by means of infrared system transmitters. The infrared beams do not pass through walls and therefore, one need not worry about sound leaks taking place from one room to other.
Induction loop system is another device which makes use of electromagnetic signals picked up by 'T'-coils. These 'T'-coils are also fitted in cochlear implants and hearing aids. Users with such devices can just switch to the 'T'-settings of their hearing aids and make adjustments in volume levels. A one-on-one system is also an assistive listening technology being used by people in nursing homes and driver-passenger communication systems. A speaker communicates only with one listener at a time using this system.
The devices described in the article above should provide basic information about the technology. These devices have a fairly wide range of applications and their use in day-to-day life can be helpful to many people.