Assistive Listening Devices

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Assistive Listening Devices

There are many devices available to people with hearing impairment that may substantially improve communication and daily activities. Simple things we take for granted like speaking on the phone or hearing fire alarms can be very difficult for someone who is hearing impaired but can also be dangerous at times. Thankfully there are products on the market which may put many minds at ease.

Assistive listening devices have been designed to enhance sounds in the same sense that hearing aids do.  However, while hearing aids generally make all sounds in the area louder, assistive listening devices can focus on improving the sound of a specific alerting device, such as a television, alarm system, radio, or even a public speaker.

Assisted listening devices help address listening troubles in a few manners; they minimize background noise by decreasing the effect of distance between the sound source and the deaf or hard of hearing the individual, and they work to overshadow bad acoustics, such as echoing. Assisted listening devices are commonly used by those involved in the entertainment, employment, and education industries. They are also used for personal and home use.

Additional Benefits of ALD’s:

  • Perfect for one-to-one communication, TV, car communication, or conversations in restaurants and small social gatherings
  • Ideal for supplying temporary amplification, such as in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Entirely portable and battery operated for convenience
  • Great cost
  • Can be used on its own or in combination with personal hearing aids and cochlear implants
  • A handy addition while listening to audio and audiovisual equipment

Amplified Phones

There are many different brands and types of phones available. The type of telephone suitable will depend on the degree of hearing loss and budget of the individual person. These phones come in a variety of styles, ie: corded and cordless or with a built-in answering machine.


These systems are used by those individuals with profound hearing loss who are unable to communicate by regular telephone. The person types in what they want to say and either send it to someone else with a TTY or by voice carry over from a Bell operator. Choosing an appropriate TTY will depend on lifestyle as well as budget. Users may be eligible to access a government grant through the Assistive Device Program (ADP).

Alarm Clocks

When an individual with hearing impairment goes to sleep we are often asked how they are able to wake up on time. The solution is quite easily solved with a vibrating alarm clock. These units may be placed under a pillow or under a mattress depending on which model is chosen. Some clocks can also be set up to flash a powerful strobe light which flashes at the designated time.

Other Signalers

There are many different types of alerting systems that may be put into place to alert the hearing impaired individual of danger ie. fire alarm. These devices usually flash lights and/or vibrate. Other available devices include; baby monitors, telephone and doorbell detectors.