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Hearing Aid Alternatives: Assistive Listening Devices

When worn correctly and consistently, hearing aids can significantly improve a person’s quality of life. What happens, though, if a hearing aid seems to be insufficient? A variety of assistive listening devices (ALDs) are available to enhance communication and hearing.

The purpose of assistive listening devices is to enhance communication by amplifying quiet sounds and making them more audible. The optimal ALD for you will depend on your unique demands as there are numerous types of ALDs available. ALDs can be used for a number of activities, such as watching television, talking on the phone, going to conferences or lectures, and taking part in small-group conversations.

Assistive Listening Devices V.S. Hearing Aids 

Hearing aids will gradually adjust and help a person’s hearing while ALDs can feel like abruptly turning up the volume. Both of these devices have their own set of advantages. However, one may be more suitable for your needs and circumstances than the other.

Basic differences

There are a few differences that stand out when you compare a hearing aid and an assistive listening device.  A piece of the majority of hearing aids will typically be worn behind or behind the ear and around the ear, with the remainder going into the ear canal. However, some ALD configurations may require a few larger components, such as a microphone box, headphones, or wiring. ALDs may appear to be less handy than hearing aids based on this, but you must also consider the primary function of each device. ALDs are only used for sound amplification. Hearing aid settings can be adjusted to boost particular sounds while muting others that are background noise.

Types of Assistive Listening Devices

There are numerous ALD types that can be used in both large public facilities and at home. TV listening systems, alarm clocks, phone amplifiers, and assistive listening systems similar to those seen in auditoriums are just a few examples. Numerous devices are now wireless, compact, and can easily work with digital hearing aids.

Audio induction or hearing loop

Some theaters and auditoriums have hidden cable loops than can transmit electromagnetic signals from the speaker’s microphone to a compatible hearing aid.

A hearing loop can improve your ability to hear speech sounds if you wear hearing aids, particularly if you are farther away. Your hearing aid will only start picking up audio from the mic of the loop system and not from any other nearby noises because of this focus. By doing this, background noise is reduced. This only works if your hearing aids have a telecoil.

Infrared system

In an infrared ALD system, such as TV Ears, sound is transmitted using light. The transmitter of this ALD transforms sound to infrared energy before transmitting it to a receiver that the listener wears. The receiver decodes the infrared signal into sound. The infrared light will degrade in sunshine, so this device is only suitable for indoor use. The transmitted light must also be unhindered for infrared technologies to function properly. Watching movies, TV, and live theater is a popular application of this sort of ALD system. 

FM system 

Radio signals are used by FM ALD technology to send boosted audio. Because FM systems are portable, a person with hearing loss can utilize these devices in any listening situation that calls for a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

Personal sound amplification products

PSAPs are equipped with a microphone, receiver, and amplifier to slightly amplify speech. A person with a mild hearing loss can hear noises louder.

Neckloop or streamer

Remote microphones can be placed on a table or near a speaker at an event. Even if you’re on the opposite side of the room, you’ll be able to hear what’s being said through your hearing aids.

Assistive Listening Devices FAQs 

What is the most commonly used assistive listening device?

Every hearing aid manufacturer makes a TV connector, a small box that plugs in to the back of your TV and streams sound directly to your hearing aids. These systems became popular with the advent of flat-screen televisions that have downward or backward-facing speakers.

Why are assistive listening devices necessary?

Assistive devices can enhance personal hearing aids for people with more severe hearing loss by enabling clearer communication in some settings and alerting the user to sounds and incidents that may not be noticed in challenging environments or when hearing devices are not worn.

Can assistive listening devices take the place of hearing aids?

All assistive listening devices can be utilized with or without cochlear implants or hearing aids. People with hearing loss can access the sound being delivered by a sound system or public address system through assistive listening systems. At the end of the day, only an audiologist can advise if you are better off with a hearing aid, an assistive listening device, or both.

Assistive Listening Devices | Plantsville, CT

Assistive listening devices efficiently close the gap between listeners and the sound source by eliminating the effects of reverberation, distance, and background noise.

Hearing Health & Wellness Center offers assistive listening devices in Plantsville, CT. Aside from being an authorized provider of major hearing aid brands, we also carry a wide range of ALDs to ensure that you get access to the best hearing technologies.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!


“Very pleased with my visits. Linda is always professional and knowledgeable, and aware of my needs. I feel quite confident in trusting her with my hearing issues. Joelle is always pleasant and accommodating. We are lucky to have Hearing Health & Wellness Center in our community.”

– Kathleen K.

“I’ve been wearing hearing aids for over 30 years and was very familiar with sales tactics of other companies. With Hearing Health & Wellness Center, I felt like I was with a medical professional, not a salesperson. Prices are fair and the customer service is Outstanding…

– Ron Stech

Dr Vasile is professional and makes you very comfortable. Thorough and gives you time to get information and answer questions. I have to say I was impressed with her as well as her assistant. Was a very beneficial appointment and I look forward to a good relationship.

– Bonnie Dow



Frequently Asked Questions

Basically, yes. Through self-referral, you are not obliged to see a physician or practice nurse before making an appointment with an audiologist. The majority, if not all, third party payers will need a referral, even though neither state licensure nor an audiologist’s ethics necessitate one. It is best to confirm the details of the referral with the specific payer. Payers, however, are generally reasonable and permit a broad recommendation, as is the case with Medicare. Medicare accepts written correspondence signed by the treating practitioner or his or her office, phone calls from the practitioner or his or her office, or emails from the practitioner or his or her office (section 80.6.1 of Chapter 15 of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual). 
Presently, a physician referral is required for all diagnostic audiological treatments covered by Medicare; nevertheless, the main factor affecting payment is the reason for the test. Medicare will pay for medically appropriate and required procedures to diagnose and treat a patient’s illness. For each service that is invoiced, the clinician is required to document in the medical record the precise sign, symptom, or medical complaint that prompted the service.
A hearing aid specialist can perform a simple hearing evaluation on you and fit you with a hearing aid. A wider range of hearing, balance, and related audiological problems can be assessed and diagnosed by audiologists. The medical experts responsible for identifying the underlying cause of hearing loss are audiologists since they are trained in the pathology of hearing loss. Contrarily, a hearing aid specialist is only concerned with conducting hearing tests to fit hearing aids.
Professionals who test hearing and provide aftercare for hearing aids are known as hearing aid dispensers (HADs). Hearing aid dispensers must be licensed and certified in order to use hearing technology. A wider variety of hearing and balance problems can be assessed and diagnosed by audiologists. For treatments that are more closely tied to medicine, such as balance issues, Ear wax, and hearing loss brought about by exposure to noise, an audiologist may be more appropriate. Both professionals are competent in fitting and adjusting hearing aids as well as performing cleaning, maintenance, and repairs.
Analysis tests are primarily carried out by audiologists to assess a patient’s hearing capacity. Audiologists can identify and treat hearing loss with hearing aids and other devices. They devote a lot of effort to teaching patients and their families better communication and hearing-care techniques. Audiologists can also diagnose and handle patients who have issues with hearing and balance, and can carry out professional Ear wax removal.
Hearing aids that are purchased on the cheap are not nearly as effective as those that are fitted and maintained by a qualified hearing healthcare professional. The sophisticated noise filters and abrupt noise mitigation capabilities of more expensive versions are absent from inexpensive hearing aids. In fact, inexpensive hearing aids have the ability to produce loud noises that can further harm your hearing.
Numerous factors can lead to hearing loss, so it’s crucial to obtain a thorough hearing evaluation to choose the most effective course of action. Regular exposure to excessively loud noises can increase one’s susceptibility to hearing loss over time. As a person gets older, age-related hearing loss is expected to happen gradually. Hearing loss may also result from taking certain treatments or medications.
Attempting to clean out your ears using cotton swabs could further impact wax, while pointy objects can cause injuries to your ear canal. To avoid damaging delicate ear parts, we strongly advise professional Ear wax removal to remove wax buildup rather than using do-it-yourself methods. Professional ear wax removal is quick and generally painless. Audiologists have the appropriate tools and methods to ensure that your ears are safe during the procedure.

Learn more about how we can help.

Hearing Health & Wellness Center provides comprehensive preventative, diagnostic, and rehabilitation hearing services for pediatric and adult patients. Call us today to schedule your appointment.