Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are hearing aid accessories designed to improve hearing in challenging settings and situations. They are personal amplifiers and can be used separately from or in conjunction with hearing aids.

Residents of South Bend and Aberdeen have assistive listening devices to help them hear in situations where the source of sound is far away, there is too much background noise or speech is difficult to understand. Some common places for ALDs include churches, synagogues, conference halls, lectures, plays, movie theaters, meeting rooms, courtrooms and airports.

Types of Assistive Listening Devices

There are three major categories of assistive listening devices. Aberdeen and South Bend patients often use one or more of these depending on their hearing needs. Each type of ALD uses a different technology to transmit sound.

Frequency Modulated (FM) Systems:

FM systems transmit sound from a microphone, placed near the source, to a receiver in the listener’s ear using high- or low-frequency radio waves. These ALDs are popular because they can transmit sounds over long distances; however, interference can sometimes be a problem since radio communication is common. A small range of high-frequency radio channels are reserved specifically for ALD-users by the FCC.

Infrared Systems:

Infrared ALDs are comparable to FM systems, but they use infrared waves instead of radio waves to transmit sound. Infrared systems eliminate the issue of interference common in FM assistive listening devices; however, they have their own limitations. Like remote controls, these ALDs require a direct path between the transmitter and receiver to work. This means there can’t be any obstacles between the speaker and listener, and they must in close range (within 50 yards).

Inductive Looping Systems:

Inductive looping, also called audio looping, is a different kind of assistive listening device for South Bend and Aberdeen residents. It allows your hearing aid to automatically connect to an audio loop by switching to telecoil mode. Audio loops are growing in popularity and are now incorporated in many newly built or remodeled spaces across the city. Inductive looping technology can often be found in movie theaters, lecture halls, classrooms, conference centers, meeting spaces, churches and courtrooms.