An ALD is any device other than a hearing aid that can help you function better in your day-to-day communication situations. An ALD can be used with or without hearing aids to overcome the negative effects of distance, background noise, or poor room acoustics. So even though you have a hearing aid, ALDs can offer greater ease of hearing in many day-to-day communication situations.

Many hearing aids wearers have difficulty using the telephone. There are many reasons why telephones and hearing aids often don’t get along, but sometimes it’s ignorance of how to use a telephone while wearing an aid or of devices that are available to help. For example, a very useful phone amp will simply function as a volume control on your corded landline and is easily available at low cost. Alternatives, like phones with volume controls, bigger phones with ring tone adjustment, and telecoil options for use with certain hearing aids will also be explored. A telecoil loop allows the telephone to “connect” directly with your hearing aid and simultaneously switches off/reduces the normal microphone on the hearing aid to limit background noise. Some hearing aids have this as an automatic function where with others you have to press a button on the aid or even via remote control.

Infrared / FM systems are mostly used for home TV sets. Sound is transmitted using infrared light waves. The TV is set at a volume comfortable for family members while the system transmits the TV signal to your receiver, which you can adjust to your desired volume. The most popular systems are the Sennheizer sets which are especially designed for people with a loss of hearing.There are models available which works without hearing aids and others designed to work via your hearing aids.

FM-Systems are devices which consist of a transmitter microphone used by the speaker and a receiver used by the listener. The microphone picks up the speech and sends it to the receiver which transmits the sound to your hearing aid. These devices are useful in a variety of situations such as listening to a lecture, in the classroom or in a restaurant. They are also used in theaters, places of worship, museums and convention centers. For use with a hearing aid, a “shoe” or looped receiver is provided which picks up the signal transmitter from the microphone which is worn by the speaker. The speaker will wear the microphone around the neck, hold it in their hands or place it in front of them while speaking. In classrooms or public places the microphone / transmitter is built into the overall sound system or connected to a loop system in the building. You are provided with an FM receiver that can connect to your hearing aid or to a headset if you don’t wear a hearing aid.

Your audiologist can advise you on any of these devices and help you acquire what would work best for your particular lifestyle and needs. Alternatively, you could contact The National Institute for the Deaf, NCPPDSA or Fanie du Toit. .