Assistive Listening Devices

Assistive listening devices can be used with or instead of hearing devices. They can assist when watching television alone or with family members, communicating over the phone or going to public venues such as churches and theatres.

Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with hearing loss who are hard of hearing. These devices promote greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish. These devices may include:

  • Auditory to help the listener hear sound better
  • Visual to display text in place of, or in addition to sound
  • Vibrotactile to use vibration to alert to some event such as a telephone call, smoke alarm, baby cry

Whether or not you wear hearing aids, assistive technology can be used in many situations to help access information by making listening and understanding easier and more effective. As important, alerting systems are available for dangerous and emergency situations as well as everyday convenience with door bells, alarm clocks and telephones. These auditory or assistive listening systems can be used to amplify sounds for:

  • One on one or group communication
  • Telephone communication
  • TV, radio and sound system reception
  • Reception of public address information

The 3 main types of transmission [from transmitters] are:

  • Infared
  • FM [frequency modulation or wireless transmission]
  • Audio induction loop systems [use of electromagnetic fields]

Sennheiser Headphones

The types of receivers used may include:

  • Headphones
  • Stethosets
  • Ear Buds
  • Hearing aids with a telecoil
  • Hearing aids with FM capability

Visual systems supplement or replace audio information and the main services are:

  • Teletext to display open captions and provide suitable audio content on TV. TV networks are obliged to offer this service under Equal Opportunities agreements
  • Real time captioning or CART often used in theatre performances, meetings and conferences. A stenocaptioner is often used.
  • The telephone Typewriter [TTY]connects to a standalone phone and allows a text message either to another TTY user, or via the National Relay Service [NRS].
  • Mobile phone texting
  • Flashing light signalling to alert to a telephone ring

Vibrotactile Systems provide a vibration response using a wireless system to alert you to:

Vibrotactile Systems Diagram
  • A door bell ringing
  • A smoke alarm
  • A phone ring
  • A baby cry