Assistive_Listening_Devices_2

News Mitchell,South Dakota 57301

Patricia Larson-Shields

The Daily Republic http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

All ears for ALD explanation

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

 

 “What are Assistive Listening Devices, or ALDs, and who benefits from them?” Claire asked.

 ALDs are any device that helps overcome hearing loss. They improve the ability to hear in a variety of settings. They also refer to any device that assists with hearing loss or a voice speech or language disorder to communicate. The term includes hearing aids or amplification devices, augmentative and alternative communication devices, alerting devices, infrared systems, personal amplifiers and closed captioning services.

 With advancing digital and wireless technologies, more devices are becoming commonplace and available for public use. They assist many in making communication more meaningful and available, thus improving their daily lives.

 ALDs are often thought of as hearing aids, cochlear implants or BAHAs (osseointegrated bone anchored hearing assistive devices). But they may also be PSAPs (personal sound amplifying products). These are devices that the consumer uses as an amplifier for the television or even hunting.

 Allow me to explain PSAPs. These devices are referred to as “hearables.” You purchase them through an audiologist or over the counter at general stores. Because the cost of hearing aids is a great investment, some consumers turn to PSAPs.

 These devices are worn by individuals with mild hearing loss or those who only want to hear the TV better or as an amplifier for sounds while hunting. The attack/release time on the hunting PSAPs is very rapid, thus acting as a hearing protector when the gun blast occurs and a hearing aid or amplifi er at other times. As an audiologist, I assist patients with the decision of PSAPs versus hearing aids.

 Augmentative and alternative communication devices help individuals who have difficulties expressing themselves. These devices can range from basic picture boards to synthesized speech from texting. They are often used by individuals who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, strokes or voice related traumas. A speech language pathologist assists the patient with the correct device and use. She/he also assists with funding sources and qualifications.

 Alerting devices are any device which emits a loud sound, vibration, flashing lights, etc. to allow the hearing-impaired individual to be aware an event is taking place. They are connected to doorbells, telephones, alarms, used in pillows or next to beds.

 Infrared systems use infrared light to transmit sound rather than radio signals. The light is converted from the transmitter into a receiver worn by the listener. This type of system is often used with television.

 The infrared system is like the loop or alerting systems because the signal (light beam) cannot pass through walls or in buildings with competing environments such as outdoor lights. FM systems are similar as both assist people whose hearing aids or cochlear implants use a neckloop or silhouette inductor to convert information to the listener.

 Personal amplifiers are most useful in areas which the above mentioned systems are unavailable or while traveling. They are about the size of a flip cell phone and assist in improving the signal to noise ratio, called the SNR. In other words, they help with the increasing of sounds in front (signal) and decrease the sounds in back or background (noise). Directional microphones help with the angle, thus improving the SNR. As with all ALDs, they can be worn as hearing aids, earphones or earbuds.

 Hearing aids are the most common ALDs on the market.

Patricia Larson-Shields

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All ears for ALD explanation

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