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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Ross Cushing, AuD
You Can Finally Turn Down the TV
A&A Maryland Hearing Center

You Can Finally Turn Down the TV

Hearing aids are one of the best and most effective ways to help people with hearing loss, but there are also other devices that can help people with hearing loss. Some of these devices are intended for people with mild hearing loss, others are more suited for people with profound hearing loss. All devices are called assistive listening devices (and they make good holiday gifts).
They can come in the form of amplifiers that you can put on your phone or television. There are also alarm or alerting devices that make life safer for those with hearing loss. These devices warn, signal and alert. They include wake-up alarms, smoke detectors, doorbell detectors, telephone ring detectors and other sound detectors.
The way these devices work is simple, they vibrate, flash a light and/or provide a louder signal in a frequency range that can be more easily heard whenever the traditional phone or detector rings at its normal level (which may not be loud enough or at the right frequency to be easily heard by someone with hearing loss). These devices are not expensive, but can make a huge improvement in the quality of life (and peace of mind) for someone with hearing loss.
Other devices are designed to bring the listener closer to the source of the desired sound. They reduce undesirable background noise and provide greater clarity for speech. There are four main categories of listening devices loop, FM, infrared and hardwired. A loop system is a loop of wire around a room. This system uses the hearing aids telephone switch. The loop is connected to an amplifier that receives signals from the sound source. This system can be used for groups, small or large. There are large systems in some churches, theatres and meeting rooms. Small portable systems are available for home use, so the television does not have to be at an uncomfortably high volume for others in the room.
An FM system and infrared system consist of a microphone with a small transmitter and receiver. The microphone is placed near the sound source and the signal is sent to the receiver that the person wears. The FM system uses radio waves, and the infrared system uses light waves.
Another option that is growing in popularity in peoples homes is the use of a hard-wire system. This system is similar to the others except that the person is directly wired to the microphone or transmitter. It is designed for small areas at home.
Consult your doctor of audiology to help you choose the best option for a particular listening situation. The audiologist will consider the listening demands and desires of the person with the hearing loss, in combination with a diagnosis of the persons degree and type of hearing loss. They also know which devices work well. Then, recommendations can be made that will make life more comfortable and safer for you or your loved one.

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