What’s a cyborg? If your mind gets swept up in science fiction movies, you probably think of cyborgs as kind of half-human, half machine characters (the human condition is frequently cleverly depicted with these characters). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely outlandish.
But actually, somebody wearing something as basic as a pair of glasses could be considered a cyborg. The glasses, after all, are a technology that has been integrated into biology.
The human condition is generally enhanced using these technologies. So you’re actually the coolest kind of cyborg around if you’re using an assistive listening device. And there’s much more technology where that comes from.
Hearing loss negative aspects
There are absolutely some disadvantages that come with hearing loss.
When you go to see a movie, it can be difficult to keep up with the plot. 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 get pretty quiet. That’s where technology has a role to play.
How can technology help with hearing loss?
“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 get assistive listening devices? Are there challenges to utilizing assistive listening devices?
These questions are all normal.
Typically, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. That’s logical, as hearing aids are a vital part of treating hearing loss. But they’re also just the start, there are numerous types of assistive hearing devices. And, used properly, these hearing devices can help you more completely enjoy the world around you.
What types of assistive listening devices are there?
Often called a “hearing loop,” the technology behind an induction loop sounds pretty complex (there are electromagnetic fields involved). Here’s what you need to understand: individuals with hearing aids can hear more clearly in locations with a hearing loop which are usually well marked with signage.
A speaker will sound more clear due to the magnetic fields in a hearing loop. Induction loops are great for:
- Locations that tend to be loud (such as waiting rooms or hotel lobbies).
- Presentations, movies, or other events that depend on amplification.
- Locations with inferior acoustic qualities like echoes.
An FM hearing assistance system works a lot like a radio or a walkie-talkie. In order for this system to work, you need two elements: a transmitter (usually a microphone or sound system) and a receiver (usually in the form of a hearing aid). Here are some scenarios where an FM system will be helpful:
- Civil and governmental locations (for instance, in courtrooms).
- 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).
- Conferences, classrooms, and other educational activities.
- Whenever it’s hard to hear due to a noisy environment.
There are similarities between an infrared system and an FM system. It’s composed of a receiver and an amplifier. Typically, the receiver is worn around the neck with an IR system. IR hearing assistance systems are great for:
- When you’re listening to one primary person speaking.
- Individuals with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
- Inside environments. IR systems are often impacted by strong sunlight. So this type of technology works best in inside spaces.
Personal amplifiers are like less specialized and less powerful versions of a hearing aid. In general, they feature a microphone and a speaker. The microphone detects sounds and amplifies them through a speaker. Personal amplifiers come in a few different styles and types, which could make them a confusing possible solution.
- For best results, speak with us before using personal amplifiers of any type.
- These devices are good for individuals who have very mild hearing loss or only require amplification in specific situations.
- Your essentially putting a very loud speaker right inside of your ear so you need to be cautious not to further damage your hearing.
Hearing aids and phones sometimes have trouble with one another. Sometimes you have feedback, sometimes things get a little garbled, sometimes you can’t get the volume quite right.
Amplified phones are a solution. These devices give you control over the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you need, depending on the circumstance. Here are some things that these devices are good for:
- Individuals who only have a hard time hearing or understanding conversations on the phone.
- Individuals who don’t have their phone synced to their Bluetooth hearing aid (or who don’t have Bluetooth offered on either their hearing aids or their primary telephone).
- Families where the phone is used by several people.
Often called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices use lights, vibration, or occasionally loud noises to get your attention when something happens. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for example. So when something around your workplace or home needs your attention, even without your hearing aids, you’ll be conscious of it.
Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:
- Home and office settings.
- Individuals who periodically take off their hearing aids (everyone needs a break now and then).
- Anybody whose hearing is totally or nearly totally gone.
- When alarm sounds such as a smoke detector could create a dangerous situation.
Once again, we come back to the sometimes frustrating connection between your telephone and your hearing aid. The feedback that occurs when two speakers are held in front of each other isn’t pleasant. When you hold a hearing aid close to a phone, the same thing occurs.
A telecoil is a way to bypass that connection. It will connect your hearing aid to your phone directly, so you can hear all of your conversations without interference or feedback. They’re great for:
- Those who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
- People who have hearing aids.
- Anybody who frequently talks on the phone.
These days, it has become fairly commonplace for people to utilize captions and subtitles to enjoy media. You will find captions pretty much everywhere! 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 rewards of using assistive listening devices
So where can you buy assistive listening devices? This question indicates a recognition of the advantages of these technologies for people who use hearing aids.
Clearly, every individual won’t get the benefit of every type of technology. For instance, you might not need an amplifier if you have a phone with good volume control. If you don’t have the right type of hearing aid, a telecoil might be useless to you.
But you have options and that’s really the point. You can customize the type of amazing cyborg you want to be (and you will be amazing, we promise)–so that you can get the most out of life. So you can more easily hear the dialogue at the movie theater or the conversation with your grandchildren.
Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in some situations but not all. If you want to hear better, call us today!