Managing Hearing Loss With the Assistance of Modern Technology

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

What’s a cyborg? You likely imagine a half human, half machine when you think of a cyborg, especially if you enjoy science fiction movies (the human condition is frequently cleverly depicted with these characters). You can get some really wild cyborgs in Hollywood.

But actually, someone wearing something as basic as a pair of glasses could be viewed as a cyborg. The glasses, after all, are a technology that has been integrated into a biological process.

These technologies typically add to the human experience. Which means, if you’re using an assistive listening device, like a hearing aid, you’re the coolest type of cyborg anywhere. And there’s a lot more technology where that comes from.

Drawbacks of hearing loss

There are definitely some drawbacks that come with hearing loss.

When you go to the movies, it can be hard to keep up with the plot. Understanding your grandchildren is even more difficult (some of that is because of the age-gap, but mostly, it’s hearing loss). And this can affect your life in extremely profound (often negative) ways.

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

How can technology alleviate hearing loss?

“Assistive listening device” is the broad category that any device which helps your hearing is put into. That sounds pretty technical, right? The question may arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Is there somewhere I can go and buy one of these devices? What challenges will I deal with?

Those are all reasonable questions!

Mostly, we’re accustomed to regarding technology for hearing loss in a very monolithic way: hearing aids. Because hearing aids are an essential part of dealing with hearing loss, that’s reasonable. But they’re also just the start, there are many types of assistive hearing devices. And you will be capable of enjoying the world around you more when you properly use these devices.

What types of assistive listening devices are there?

Induction loops

Often called a “hearing loop,” the technology behind an induction loop sounds really complicated (there are electromagnetic fields involved). Here’s what you need to know: areas with hearing loops are typically well marked with signage and they can help those with hearing aids hear more clearly, even in noisy areas.

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

  • Presentations, movies, or other events that depend on amplification.
  • Places with inferior acoustic qualities like echoes.
  • Locations that tend to be noisy (including waiting rooms or hotel lobbies).

FM systems

An FM hearing assistance system works a lot like a radio or a walkie-talkie. In order for this system to function, you need two components: a transmitter (normally a microphone or sound system) and a receiver (usually in the form of a hearing aid). Here are some scenarios where an FM system will be helpful:

  • Whenever it’s difficult to hear because of a noisy environment.
  • Courtrooms and other government or civil buildings.
  • Anybody who wants to listen to amplified sound systems (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).
  • Education environments, such as classrooms or conferences.

Infrared systems

There are similarities between an infrared system and an FM system. It consists of a receiver and an amplifier. With an IR system, the receiver is often worn around your neck (sort of like a lanyard). Here are some examples where IR systems can be helpful:

  • Individuals who use cochlear implants or hearing aids.
  • Indoor environments. Strong sunlight can interfere with the signals from an IR system. So this type of technology works best in indoor settings.
  • Scenarios where there is one main speaker at a time.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are kind of like hearing aids, just less specialized and less powerful. In general, they consist of a microphone and a speaker. The sound is being amplified through the speakers after being picked up by the microphone. Personal amplifiers might seem like a confusing solution since they come in several styles and types.

  • For best outcomes, talk to us before using personal amplifiers of any kind.
  • These devices are good for people who have very mild hearing loss or only require amplification in specific situations.
  • You need to be careful, though, these devices can expedite the decline of your hearing, particularly if you aren’t careful. (You’re basically putting a super loud speaker right inside of your ear, after all.)

Amplified phones

Phones and hearing aids don’t always get along very well. The sound can become garbled or too low in volume and sometimes there can be feedback.

Amplified phones are a solution. Depending on the situation, these phones allow you to control how loud the speaker is. Here are some things that these devices are good for:

  • Individuals who only have a hard time understanding or hearing conversations on the phone.
  • Individuals who don’t have Bluetooth enabled devices, like their phone or their hearing aid.
  • Families where the phone is used by numerous people.

Alerting devices

Often called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices utilize lights, vibration, or sometimes loud noises to get your attention when something happens. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for example. This means even if you aren’t using your hearing aids, you’ll still be alert when something around your home or office requires your attention.

Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:

  • Anyone whose hearing is completely or almost completely gone.
  • When you take breaks from your hearing aids.
  • Circumstances where lack of attention could be dangerous (for instance, when a smoke alarm goes off).
  • When in the office or at home.


So the link (sometimes frustrating) between your hearing aid and phone becomes evident. The feedback that happens when two speakers are held in front of each other is not pleasant. This is basically what occurs when you put a phone speaker close to a hearing aid.

That connection can be avoided by a telecoil. It will connect your hearing aid to your phone directly, so you can listen to all of your conversations without interference or feedback. They’re great for:

  • Anybody who isn’t connected to Bluetooth in any way.
  • People who have hearing aids.
  • Anyone who frequently talks on the phone.


Closed captions (and subtitles more broadly) have become a mainstay of the way people enjoy media today. You will find captions just about everywhere! Why? Because they make it a little easier to understand what you’re watching.

When you have hearing loss, captions can work in combination with your hearing aids, helping you understand mumbled dialogue or making sure you can hear your favorite show even when there’s distracting conversation near you.

What are the benefits of using assistive listening devices?

So where can you get assistive listening devices? This question indicates a recognition of the benefits of these technologies for people who use hearing aids.

To be sure, not every solution is right for every individual. For example, you might not need an amplifier if you have a phone with reliable volume control. A telecoil might not even work for you if you don’t have the right type of hearing aid.

But you have options and that’s really the point. 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 understand the dialogue at the movies or the conversation with your grandchildren.

Some situations will call for assistive listening technology and others won’t. Call us as soon as possible so we can help you hear better!

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.