Assistive Listening Devices

Some individuals who wear hearing aids and some who do not yet wear hearing aids can benefit from Assistive Listening Devices.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that help individuals with hearing impairment function better in day-to-day situations. These devices are made to alert people of sounds in their environments. For example, if a doorbell signal is not loud enough, having the auditory signal converted into a flashing light signal can visually alert someone of a visitor at the door.

There are generally three ways to make an auditory stimulus understandable to someone with hearing loss: make it louder, convert it to a visual signal, or convert it to a tactile prompt (something that vibrates). There are many different alerting auditory signals in our environment such as alarm clocks, telephones, doorbells, babies crying, and smoke alarms. If you are unable to hear these signals or sounds, there are devices to assist you with their notification. An alarm clock signal can be connected to a lamp flashing or with an under-the-pillow-vibrator to awaken you in the morning or to awaken you to a ringing telephone. Another ALD would be a transmitter plugged in near a baby’s crib with multiple receivers plugged in around the house to notify a parent when the baby is crying. Getting up on time, knowing when the phone is ringing, knowing that the baby is crying, or knowing that someone is at the door can have a serious impact on well-being and safety in the home. Alerting ALD’s enhance the ability to respond to environmental sounds that are very important in our daily lives. These devices provide individuals with hearing impairment or deafness a sense of comfort and safety.

Amplified telephones make the caller’s voice louder. Many amplified telephones have adjustable ringers that vary in pitch and in the type of signal they make. Some have built-in flashing lights that light-up when the phone rings and/ or have a port for a bed-shaker. Some have extra large numbers for those who are visually impaired.