Assistive listening devices, commonly abbreviated as ALDs, are personal amplification systems that can be used for those with hearing loss in conjunction with or separately from hearing aids. These devices are great for use in situations where the speaker is far from the listener, there is excessive background noise or the acoustics aren’t conducive to listening.
At Heuser Hearing & Language Academy in Louisville, assistive listening devices are an important part of the classroom learning experience. Other places ALDs are commonly utilized include:
- Meeting rooms
- Lecture halls
- Conference rooms
- Movie theaters
- Live performances
There are a few different types of ALDs available on the market, but they all perform basically the same function. These devices have two separate parts: a small microphone and transmitter portion that is worn by or placed near the sound source and the receiver and microphone component that is worn near the listener’s ear. The difference between the various types of ALDs is simply the method by which they transmit sound waves from one part to the other.
FM systems are the most common ALD and rely on radio signals to transmit amplified sounds directly to your hearing aid. They consist of a microphone, transmitter and receiver, and are used in a variety of public places such as classrooms, restaurants, movie theaters and churches.
The microphone is worn by the person speaking (or placed in close proximity to the sound source) and the signal is broadcast from the transmitter to the receiver, which is tuned to a specific frequency.
All of the classrooms are Heuser Hearing & Language Academy are equipped with FM systems for students in our preschool and kindergarten programs.
Infrared systems work on the same principle as FM systems, but use infrared light instead of radio waves to transmit sound. The transmitter converts sound signals into light and beams those to the receiver, which then translates the light signal back into sound.
An advantage to infrared systems is the fact that their signal is unable to pass through walls as it does with FM systems, eliminating competing broadcasts that might hamper the listener and preventing confidential information from being disseminated. They are particularly useful in courtrooms and large movie theaters.
Audio loop, or induction loop, systems utilize electromagnetic energy to transmit sound directly to your hearing aid or cochlear implant. They consist of a sound source (public address systems are popular), an amplifier, a loop of wire and a receiver or telecoil (t-coil), a tiny wireless receiver built into many devices.
When you are in close proximity to the loop, you will receive clear sound free of background noise. Hearing loops can be connected to all types of audio sources, and are often set up in public facilities such as airports, churches and lecture halls.
Call Heuser Hearing Institute at (502) 584-3573 for more information or to schedule an appointment.