Hearing problems and hearing technology solutions. Ultrasound. Deafness. Advancing age and hearing loss. Soundwave and equalizer bars with human ear

What’s a cyborg? If you get swept up in science fiction movies, you probably think of cyborgs as sort of half-human, half machine characters (the human condition is frequently cleverly portrayed with these characters). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely bizarre.

But the truth is that, technically, anyone who wears a pair of glasses could be considered a cyborg. After all, biology has been enhanced with technology.

These technologies typically enhance the human experience. So you’re actually the coolest kind of cyborg in the world if you’re using an assistive listening device. And the best thing is that the technology doesn’t stop there.

Negative aspects of hearing loss

There are definitely some disadvantages that come with hearing loss.

When you go to see a movie, it can be hard to keep up with the plot. It’s even more challenging to make out what your grandkids are talking about (part of this is because you have no idea what K-pop is, and you never will, but mostly it’s the result of hearing loss). And this can affect your life in extremely profound (often negative) ways.

Left untreated, the world can get pretty quiet. This is where technology comes in.

How can hearing loss be addressed with technology?

“Assistive listening device” is the general category that any device which helps you hear better is put into. That sounds rather technical, right? The question might arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Is there somewhere I can go and purchase one of these devices? What challenges will I deal with?

Those are all reasonable questions!

Mostly, we’re used to regarding technology for hearing loss in a very monolithic way: hearing aids. That’s reasonable, as hearing aids are a vital part of managing hearing loss. But hearing aids aren’t the only kind of assistive hearing device. And you will be able to enjoy the world around you more when you correctly use these devices.

What are the different kinds of assistive listening devices?

Induction loops

Induction loops, also known as hearing loops, use technology that sounds quite complex. Here’s what you need to know: people with hearing aids can hear more clearly in places with a hearing loop which are typically well marked with signage.

A speaker will sound clearer due to the magnetic fields in a hearing loop. Induction loops are good for:

  • Settings that tend to be noisy (such as waiting rooms or hotel lobbies).
  • Locations that tend to have lots of echoes or have poor acoustics.
  • Events that rely on amplified sound (such as presentations or even movies).

FM systems

These FM systems are like a walkie-talkie or radio. A transmitter, typically a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, like a hearing aid, are required for this type of system to work. FM systems are great for:

  • Anybody who wants to listen to sound systems that use amplification (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).
  • Civil and governmental locations (for example, in courtrooms).
  • Conferences, classrooms, and other educational events.
  • Anyplace that is loud and noisy, particularly where that noise makes it challenging to hear.

Infrared systems

An infrared system is a lot like an FM system. There’s an amplifier and a receiver. Usually, the receiver is worn around the neck with an IR system. Here are some examples where IR systems can be useful:

  • People who have cochlear implants or hearing aids.
  • Scenarios where there’s one primary speaker at a time.
  • Inside environments. Bright sunlight can interfere with the signals from an IR system. Consequently, inside venues are usually the best ones for this sort of technology.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are a lot like less specialized and less robust versions of a hearing aid. Generally, they consist of a microphone and a speaker. The sound is being amplified through the speakers after being detected by the microphone. Personal amplifiers come in several different styles and types, which might make them a confusing possible option.

  • You need to be careful, though, these devices can hasten the decline of your hearing, particularly if you aren’t careful. (You’re essentially putting a super loud speaker right in your ear, after all.)
  • Before you use any type of personal amplifier, talk to us about it first.
  • These devices are good for individuals who have very slight hearing loss or only need amplification in specific situations.

Amplified phones

Hearing aids and phones sometimes have difficulty with one another. The sound can become garbled or too low in volume and sometimes there can be feedback.

One option for this is an amplified phone. These devices give you control over the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you need, depending on the circumstance. These devices are good for:

  • Individuals who only have a hard time hearing or understanding conversations on the phone.
  • People who don’t have their phone connected to their Bluetooth hearing aid (or who don’t have Bluetooth offered on either their hearing aids or their principal telephone).
  • Households where the phone is used by multiple people.

Alerting devices

When something happens, these devices (sometimes called signalers or notification devices) use loud noises, vibrations, and flashing lights to get your attention. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for example. So when something around your workplace or home needs your consideration, even without your hearing aids, you’ll be aware of it.

Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:

  • Individuals with complete or nearly complete hearing loss.
  • Home and office settings.
  • Individuals who intermittently take off their hearing aids (everyone needs a break now and then).
  • When alarm sounds such as a smoke detector could create a dangerous situation.


Again, we come back to the sometimes frustrating link between your telephone and your hearing aid. When you hold a speaker up to another speaker, it creates feedback (sometimes painful feedback). This is essentially what occurs when you put a phone speaker close to a hearing aid.

That connection can be avoided by a telecoil. It will link up your hearing aid to your phone directly, so you can hear all of your conversations without noise or feedback. They’re good for:

  • Individuals who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
  • People who talk on the phone often.
  • Individuals who have hearing aids.


Closed captions (and subtitles more generally) have become a mainstay of the way people enjoy media nowadays. You will find captions pretty much everywhere! Why? Because they make what you’re watching a bit easier to understand.

For people who have hearing loss, captions will help them be able to understand what they’re watching even with loud conversations around them and can work together with their hearing aids so they can hear dialog even when it’s mumbled.

What are the benefits of using assistive listening devices?

So, now your greatest question might be: where can I buy assistive listening devices? That’s a good question because it means you’ve recognized how all of these technologies can be advantageous to people with hearing loss.

To be sure, not every strategy is right for every person. If you have a cell phone with easy-to-use volume control, you may not need an amplifying phone, for instance. If you don’t have the right type of hearing aid, a telecoil might be useless to you.

The point is that you have possibilities. After you begin customizing your journey toward being an awesome cyborg, you will be ready to get the most out of your life. So you can more easily hear the dialogue at the movies or the conversation with your grandkids.

Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in certain situations but not all. If you’re interested in hearing better, call us today!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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