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Hearing problems and hearing technology solutions. Ultrasound. Deafness. Advancing age and hearing loss. Soundwave and equalizer bars with human ear

What’s a cyborg? If your mind gets swept up in science fiction movies, you most likely think of cyborgs as kind of half-human, half machine characters (the human condition is often cleverly depicted with these characters). You can get some really fantastic cyborgs in Hollywood.

But in reality, somebody wearing something as basic as a pair of glasses could be viewed as a cyborg. The glasses, after all, are a technology that has been integrated into a biological process.

The human condition is usually enhanced with these technologies. So, if you’re using an assistive listening device, such as a hearing aid, you’re the coolest kind of cyborg in the world. And there’s much more technology where that comes from.

Disadvantages of hearing loss

There are definitely some drawbacks that come with hearing loss.

When you go to the movies, it can be difficult to keep up with the plot. It’s even more challenging to make out what your grandkids are talking about (part of this is because you have no clue what K-pop is, and you never will, but mostly it’s because of hearing loss). And this can affect your life in extremely profound (often negative) ways.

Left untreated, the world can get pretty quiet. This is where technology comes in.

How can technology help with hearing loss?

Broadly speaking, technology that helps you have better hearing is lumped into the category of “assistive listening devices”. That sounds pretty technical, right? The question might arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Is there someplace I can go and purchase one of these devices? What challenges will I confront?

These questions are all standard.

Usually, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. Because hearing aids are an essential part of managing hearing loss, that’s reasonable. But hearing aids aren’t the only kind of assistive hearing device. And, used properly, these hearing devices can help you more completely enjoy the world around you.

What are the different kinds of assistive listening devices?

Induction loops

Induction loops, also known as hearing loops, utilize technology that sounds quite complex. Here are the basics: areas with hearing loops are usually well marked with signage and they can help individuals with hearing aids hear more clearly, even in noisy settings.

Essentially, hearing loops utilize magnetic fields to make a speaker’s voice more clear. Induction loops are great for:

  • Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other loud settings.
  • Events that depend on amplified sound (such as presentations or even movies).
  • Places with bad acoustic qualities like echoes.

FM systems

An FM hearing assistance system works much like a radio or a walkie-talkie. A transmitter, usually a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, like a hearing aid, are required for this type of system to work. FM systems are great for:

  • Anyone who wants to listen to sound systems that use amplification (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).
  • Courtrooms and other government or civil places.
  • Anywhere that is loud and noisy, particularly where that noise makes it challenging to hear.
  • Education situations, such as classrooms or conferences.

Infrared systems

There are similarities between an infrared system and an FM system. It consists 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:

  • Indoor environments. Strong sunlight can interfere with the signals from an IR system. Consequently, inside settings are usually the best ones for this type of technology.
  • Individuals who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.
  • Scenarios where there’s one primary speaker at a time.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are a lot like less specialized and less robust versions of a hearing aid. They’re generally composed of a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up sounds and amplifies them through a speaker. Personal amplifiers might seem like a confusing solution since they come in several styles and types.

  • These devices are good for individuals who have very slight hearing loss or only require amplification in select situations.
  • For best outcomes, speak with us before using personal amplifiers of any type.
  • You need to be careful, though, these devices can hasten the decline of your hearing, particularly if you aren’t careful. (You’re basically putting a super loud speaker right inside of your ear, after all.)

Amplified phones

Hearing aids and phones often have trouble with one another. The sound can get garbled or too low in volume and sometimes you can get feedback.

One option for this is an amplified phone. Depending on the situation, these phones let you control how loud the speaker is. These devices are good for:

  • When multiple people in a home use a single phone.
  • When somebody has difficulty hearing phone conversations but hears fine in other situations.
  • People who don’t have their phone synced to their Bluetooth hearing aid (or who don’t have Bluetooth available on either their hearing aids or their principal telephone).

Alerting devices

When something happens, these devices (sometimes called signalers or notification devices) use loud noises, vibrations, and flashing lights to get your attention. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for instance. So when something around your workplace or home needs your consideration, even without your hearing aids, you’ll be conscious of it.

Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:

  • When in the office or at home.
  • When you take breaks from your hearing aids.
  • Those who have complete or nearly complete hearing loss.
  • When alarm sounds like a smoke detector could lead to a dangerous situation.


So the connection (sometimes frustrating) between your hearing aid and phone becomes evident. When you hold a speaker up to another speaker, it produces feedback (sometimes painful feedback). This is essentially what happens when you hold a phone speaker close to a hearing aid.

A telecoil is a way to get around that connection. You will be able to hear all of your calls without feedback as your telecoil links your hearing aid directly to your phone. They’re great for:

  • Individuals who talk on the phone frequently.
  • Those who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
  • Anybody who uses hearing aids.


Nowadays, it has become rather commonplace for people to use captions and subtitles to enjoy media. Everyone uses captions! Why? Because they make what you’re watching a little easier to understand.

When you have hearing loss, captions can work in combination with your hearing aids, helping you understand mumbled dialogue or making sure you can follow your favorite show even when there’s distracting conversation nearby.

The advantages of using assistive listening devices

So, now your greatest question might be: where can I buy assistive listening devices? That’s a good question because it means you’ve recognized how all of these technologies can be beneficial to those with hearing loss.

Clearly, every individual won’t get the benefit of every kind of technology. For example, you may 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 kind of hearing aid.

But you have options and that’s really the point. You can customize the kind 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.

Some situations will call for assistive listening technology and some won’t. Call us right away so we can help you hear better!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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