Hearing loss has been termed the “invisible” disability – makes sense because we cannot see hearing loss. While hearing aids greatly improve hearing, they certainly are not a cure for hearing loss, kind of like eyeglasses are not a cure for bad eyesight! Many are disappointed and frustrated that their hearing aids do not work in all environments. Noisy environments such as auditoriums and restaurants are of particular note. Hearing aids work best when the speaker is 3-6 feet away in a relatively quiet environment. Since the hearing aid microphones are in or on your ears, they pick up all sound and don’t effectively discriminate voices from background noise. Digital hearing aids are constantly improving but still fall short in these environments. Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), also known as Personal Listening Devices (PLDs) can help the hearing aids hear better in certain environments such as auditoriums, classrooms, meeting rooms, workplaces and restaurants. These devices work by placing the microphone closer to the speaker’s mouth and then transmit the sound directly to your T-coil-equipped hearing aid, which is adjusted for your specific hearing loss, or through headphones or earphones/earbuds for those not wearing hearing aids. These devices can also help keep peace in the family by allowing the TV volume to remain at “normal” levels while amplifying the volume for the individual with TV listening hearing loss, with or without a hearing aid. Assistive Listening Devices are a cost effective solution to many hearing issues. The ALDs generally work very well for those that don’t mind carrying a little transmitter/receiver. A small price for being able to hear in many environments! Be sure to discuss how ALDs can supplement the effectiveness of your hearing aids with your hearing professional.
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