Are you familiar with what a cyborg is? You most likely imagine a half human, half machine when you think of a cyborg, especially if you enjoy science fiction movies (the human condition is frequently cleverly depicted with these characters). You can get some really wild cyborgs in Hollywood.
But actually, someone wearing something as simple as a pair of glasses could be viewed as a cyborg. After all, biology has been upgraded with technology.
The human condition is generally enhanced using these technologies. Which means, if you’re wearing an assistive listening device, like a hearing aid, you’re the coolest kind of cyborg anywhere. And the best thing is that the technology doesn’t stop there.
Hearing loss drawbacks
There are absolutely some disadvantages that come with hearing loss.
It’s hard to keep up with the plot when you go see a movie. Understanding your grandchildren is even harder (some of that is because of the age-gap, but mostly, it’s hearing loss). And it can be profound (and often negative) how much your life can be affected.
Left untreated, the world can become pretty quiet. This is where technology comes in.
How can hearing loss be managed with technology?
“Assistive listening device” is the general category that any device which helps your hearing is put into. Ok, it does sound somewhat technical! You might be thinking: what are assistive listening devices? Where can I buy assistive listening devices? What challenges will I deal with?
Those are all fair questions!
Typically, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. That’s logical, as hearing aids are an essential part of treating hearing loss. But they’re also just the start, there are numerous types of assistive hearing devices. And you will be able to enjoy the world around you more when you correctly use these devices.
What are the different types of assistive listening devices?
Induction loops, also called hearing loops, utilize technology that sounds really complex. Here’s what you need to know: people with hearing aids can hear more clearly in locations with a hearing loop which are typically well marked with signage.
Basically, hearing loops use magnetic fields to make a speaker’s voice more clear. Induction loops are great for:
- Presentations, movies, or other situations that rely on amplification.
- Settings that tend to be noisy (including waiting rooms or hotel lobbies).
- Locations with inferior acoustic qualities like echoes.
An FM hearing assistance system works much like a radio or a walkie-talkie. A transmitter, typically a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, such as a hearing aid, are needed for this kind of system to work. Here are some scenarios where an FM system will be helpful:
- Anywhere that is loud and noisy, especially where that noise makes it challenging to hear.
- Anybody who wants to listen to amplified sound systems (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).
- Conferences, classrooms, and other educational events.
- Courtrooms and other government or civil places.
An infrared system is a lot like an FM system. It’s composed of a receiver and an amplifier. With an IR system, the receiver is usually worn around your neck (kind of like a lanyard). IR hearing assistance systems are ideal for:
- When you’re listening to one main person talking.
- Individuals who use cochlear implants or hearing aids.
- Indoor settings. IR systems are frequently effected by strong sunlight. Because of this, inside venues are usually the best ones for this sort of technology.
Personal amplifiers are like less specialized and less powerful versions of a hearing aid. They’re generally composed of a speaker and a microphone. The sound is being amplified through the speakers after being picked up by the microphone. Personal amplifiers may seem like a tricky option since they come in various styles and types.
- Your essentially putting a really loud speaker right inside of your ear so you need to be cautious not to further damage your hearing.
- Before you use any kind of personal amplifier, consult us about it first.
- These devices are good for individuals who have very slight hearing loss or only require amplification in specific situations.
Phones and hearing aids don’t always get along swimmingly. Sometimes you have feedback, sometimes things become a little garbled, sometimes you can’t have a hard time getting the volume quite right.
One solution for this is an amplified phone. These devices allow you to have control of the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you want, depending on the situation. These devices are good for:
- When somebody has difficulty hearing phone conversations but hears fine in other circumstances.
- When multiple people in a home use a single phone.
- People who don’t use Bluetooth enabled devices, like their phone or their hearing aid.
Often called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices utilize lights, vibration, or occasionally loud noises to get your attention when something happens. For instance, when the doorbell dings, the phone rings, or the microwave bings. This means even if you aren’t wearing your hearing aids, you’ll still be alert when something around your home or office requires your attention.
Alerting devices are a good solution for:
- People who periodically take off their hearing aids (everyone needs a break now and then).
- When alarm sounds such as a smoke detector could create a hazardous situation.
- When in the office or at home.
- Anybody whose hearing is completely or almost completely gone.
So the connection (sometimes frustrating) between your hearing aid and phone comes to the front. When you hold a speaker up to another speaker, it produces feedback (sometimes painful feedback). When you put a hearing aid next to a phone, the same thing occurs.
That connection can be bypassed by a telecoil. It will link up your hearing aid to your phone directly, so you can listen to all of your conversations without noise or feedback. They’re good for:
- Those who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
- Anyone who regularly talks on the phone.
- Anyone who uses hearing aids.
Closed captions (and subtitles more broadly) have become a normal way for people to enjoy media nowadays. You will find captions pretty much everywhere! Why? Because they make it a little easier to understand what you’re watching.
When you’re dealing with hearing loss, captions can work in conjunction with your hearing aids, helping you understand mumbled dialogue or making sure you can follow your favorite show even when there’s distracting conversation near you.
The advantages of using assistive listening devices
So where can you get assistive listening devices? That’s a good question because it means you’ve acknowledged how all of these technologies can be worthwhile to those who have hearing loss.
Clearly, every person won’t get the benefit of every kind of technology. For instance, you might not need an amplifier if you have a phone with good volume control. A telecoil may not even work for you if you don’t have the right type of hearing aid.
But you have options and that’s really the point. You can personalize the type of incredible cyborg you want to be (and you will be amazing, we promise)–so that you can get the most out of life. It’s time to get back into that conversation with your grandkids.
Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in certain situations but not all. Call us right away so we can help you hear better!