Think you’re all done once you buy your hearing aids? Think again. Much like a hat or jacket will help modify your outfit for specific Houston environments, accessories are available to help your hearing aid work better in specific situations.
Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices or ALDs are the most popular hearing aid accessories. They help users hear and understand voices better than they could with just hearing aids.
Within all modern hearing aids is a small copper coil that acts as a wireless receiver, called a telecoil (also known as t-coil). This telecoil is essential for any assistive listening device.
The three most common assistive listening devices are below:
A hearing loop (or induction loop). This loop uses electromagnetic energy to transmit sound. The hearing loop consists of four parts:
- A sound source
- An amplifier
- A thin wire loop
- A receiver
Sound is amplified, converted into an electromagnetic signal and passed through the loop until it is picked up by the receiver, which for most is located within their telecoil-enabled hearing aid.
The sound is clearer and contains much less of the bothersome background noise since it is picked up directly by the hearing aid. Hearing loops are usually found in Houston theaters and conference centers.
Unlike the electromagnetic signal used by the hearing loop, an FM system uses radio signals to transmit sound. This system can usually be found in Houston classrooms.
The speaker (most often a teacher) wears a small microphone clipped to their shirt. The microphone is connected to a transmitter. The hearing impaired student will wear the receiver turned to a specific channel. Their telecoil-enabled hearing aid will then convert the radio signal into an electromagnetic signal within the device.
An infrared system uses infrared light to transmit sound. A transmitter converts sound into light and sends that light to the receiver worn by the hearing impaired individual. Unlike the other systems, infrared cannot pass through walls. This makes this method ideal for locations where confidential information is discussed, such as a Houston courtroom.
Hearing Aid Accessories
Besides assistive listening devices, there are a number of other hearing aid accessories.
Remote controls are able to wirelessly connect to your hearing aid to let you change the program or volume without having to fiddle with small buttons.
Personal microphones can help assist with one-on-one conversations. They are worn around the neck of your conversation partner and the microphones directly broadcast their voice into your hearing aid without distracting background noise getting in the way. These microphones can also be used in larger group settings. Simply place them on the table in the middle of the conversation.
Looking to get even more out of your hearing aid? Contact your Houston audiologist. They will help you decide which accessories will be right for your listening lifestyle.