Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive Listening Devices

Hearing aids work great in most environments, but even the most advanced devices still fall short in certain situations. When this happens, assistive listening devices offer Kentucky residents a great solution to meet their hearing needs. These devices, are personal amplification systems that can be used on their own or paired with hearing aids for improved listening

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are most helpful in situations where your hearing aids are unable to distinguish between background and foreground noise. The three most common scenarios in which patients in central Kentucky use ALDs are:
  • When the source of sound is far away
  • When there is excessive background noise
  • When a poor acoustical environment affects sound quality

People commonly use ALDs to improve hearing in religious services, movies, plays, lectures, conferences, classrooms, festivals, courtrooms, airports, museums, and other similar settings.

Types of Assistive Listening Devices

All ALDs perform in essentially the same way by wirelessly transmitting sound from its source directly to the listener’s ear. There are three main categories of assistive listening devices, each of which uses a different method to transmit sound.
  • Frequency Modulated (FM) systems send sound from a microphone placed near the speaker to the receiver in your ear using radio waves. This method works well for ALD technology because radio waves can pass through objects and travel across long distances. FM ALDs can have problems with interference since radio communication is common; however, federal law designates a range of high-frequency radio channels specifically for assistive listening device users.
  • Infrared systems work similarly to FM assistive listening devices except they use infrared light instead of radio waves to transmit sound. Infrared technology, which is also used for remote controls, eliminates the risk of interference, ensuring clear, quality sound. However, infrared waves can only be transmitted over short distances (up to about 50 yards) that have a direct, obstacle-free path between the transmitter and receiver.
  • Audio looping systems are a recent innovation in assistive listening device technology. These systems are built into some public spaces where hearing is challenging, such as movie theaters, concert halls, courts, churches, synagogues, universities, conference rooms and lecture halls. When Kentucky residents with hearing aids are in spaces equipped with audio loops, they can automatically connect to the inductive looping system by switching their devices to telecoil mode.