Assistive Listening Devices
In more challenging listening situations, hearing assistive devices may be used with and without the use of hearing aids. Specifically tailored for the phone, television and Bluetooth devices, these accessories provide the necessary boost in hearing to facilitate understanding when either distance or noise becomes a factor while communicating or listening to others.
What is a Telecoil?
Featured in many hearing aids and cochlear implants, a telecoil (t-coil) is a copper magnetic coil that receives and improves the speech signal from hearing assistive technology or landline telephones. The purpose of the t-coil setting is to increase the volume of the sound source by eliminating most of the background noise. Focused on improving communication and speech clarity, telecoils provide appropriate benefit when the universal settings of hearing aids are not able to do so.
Once the t-coil setting is programmed, the setting can be manually turned on in your hearing aids. Many public places such as theaters, public transportation, places of worships, auditoriums and museums have hearing loops installed to be used at your discretion. Directly connected to a sound system, hearing loops circle a room and transmit sound electromagnetically to the telecoil. By switching to your t-coil setting and turning the telecoil on, the sound will automatically be sent directly to your hearing aids.
Over the past several years the Hearing Loss Association of America NYC Chapter have started an initiative to make hearing loops more accessible to New Yorkers. To search for a hearing loop nearest you, download the app LoopFinder or simply check out the most recent list of hearing loops that was released in June 2016.
Similar to hearing loops, sound is sent through a radio signal directly from a microphone transmitter to a receiver attached to the hearing aids. Often used in school and work related settings, the speaker will either wear a microphone lapel or have a microphone pen in front of them to improve the signal to noise ratio.
In more recent years, manufacturers have made their hearing aids Bluetooth compatible to further improve speech clarity for such devices as televisions, cell phones, tablets and FM systems. Streaming directly or through an additional accessory, the sound source is sent through an invisible electronic signal to a Bluetooth receiver that links to your hearing aids.
The Bluetooth feature is compatible in most styles of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear (BTE), mini BTE, in-the-ear (ITE) and in-the-canal (ITC) styles, though each manufacturer provides a different array of products and accessories that are Bluetooth-enabled.
If you are interested in Bluetooth-compatible hearing devices, talk to your hearing specialist about all of your options. Let them know of the listening situations you are in each day and the types of devices you use throughout the day. Ask to see a hearing aid and the streaming device, if required, and experience a real-time demonstration. Talk to your hearing specialist about how Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids could make your daily interactions with your world a better experience.
Each manufacturer have their proprietary wireless accessories to further improve speech clarity and understanding. Bypassing the microphone and connecting to the Bluetooth receiver in the hearing aid, you will be able to hear the signal using both ears in surround sound. When connecting the accessory to the hearing aids the audiologist will either program the microphone inside the hearing aid to be turned off or turned down. This may mean you won't have amplification of other environmental sounds around you during use, which is important to account for prior to connection. The transmitter converts the Bluetooth signal from the electronic device or mobile phone to a wireless signal that is understood by the hearing aid. Being out of range of the transmitter means that the Bluetooth signal will not reach the hearing aids.
TV Ears (Wireless Television Devices):
Even a minimal hearing loss can cause some difficulty understanding your favorite television program. Controls on the headphone of these devices will allow you to adjust the volume of the TV independent of what is coming out of the TV speakers. Therefore, TV Ears will help eliminate the interference of background noise and allow the wearer to adjust the volume independently from others in the room.
Audio Headphones in Select Theaters
Movie theaters such as AMC offer assistive listening devices to their customers to make movie going that much more enjoyable. Wearing a headset and independently being able to change the volume, these devices will be provided by an AMC employee at most ticket counters.
Beyond the hearing aids, we offer in-house installations of your assistive listening devices and accessories for the television, telephone, and/or doorbell. Contact us today to schedule your next home visit.