What is a cyborg? You most likely imagine a half human, half machine when you think of a cyborg, particularly if you love science fiction movies (the human condition is frequently cleverly depicted with these characters). You can get some really fantastic 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. So, if you’re wearing an assistive listening device, like a hearing aid, you’re the coolest type of cyborg in the world. And the best part is that the technology doesn’t stop there.
Disadvantages of hearing loss
Hearing loss undeniably comes with some drawbacks.
It’s hard to follow the plot when you go see a movie. It’s even more challenging to understand what your grandkids are talking about (part of this is because you have no clue what K-pop is, and you never will, but mostly it’s because of hearing loss). And this can impact your life in very profound (often negative) ways.
The world can become really quiet if your hearing loss is neglected. That’s where technology plays a role.
How can hearing loss be managed with technology?
“Assistive listening device” is the broad category that any device which helps you hear better is put into. Ok, it does sound somewhat technical! The question might arise: exactly what are assistive listening devices? Where can I get assistive listening devices? Are there challenges to utilizing assistive listening devices?
These questions are all normal.
Typically, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. Because hearing aids are an essential part of treating hearing loss, that’s reasonable. But hearing aids aren’t the only type 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 types of assistive listening devices?
Induction loops, also known as hearing loops, utilize technology that sounds quite complex. This is what you need to understand: people with hearing aids can hear more clearly in locations with a hearing loop which are normally well marked with signage.
Basically, hearing loops use magnetic fields to make a speaker’s voice more clear. Here are some examples of when an induction loop can be beneficial:
- Venues that tend to have lots of echoes or have low-quality acoustics.
- Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other noisy places.
- Presentations, movies, or other events that depend on amplification.
These FM systems are like a walkie-talkie or radio. A transmitter, typically a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, such as a hearing aid, are needed for this kind of system to work. Here are some scenarios where an FM system will be helpful:
- Courtrooms and other government or civil places.
- Anywhere that is loud and noisy, especially where that noise makes it challenging to hear.
- An event where amplified sound is being used, including music from a speaker or sound at a movie.
- Education situations, like classrooms or conferences.
An infrared system is similar to an FM system. It’s composed of a receiver and an amplifier. Typically, the receiver is worn around the neck with an IR system. Here are some examples where IR systems can be useful:
- Inside settings. Bright sunlight can interfere with the signals from an IR system. So this type of technology works best in inside spaces.
- Individuals with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
- When you’re listening to one primary person speaking.
Personal amplifiers are a lot like less specialized and less powerful versions of a hearing aid. Generally, they feature a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up sounds and amplifies them through a speaker. Personal amplifiers might seem like a confusing solution since they come in numerous styles and types.
- Your essentially putting a really loud speaker right inside of your ear so you need to be cautious not to damage your hearing further.
- These devices are good for people who have very mild hearing loss or only require amplification in select situations.
- For best results, consult us before using personal amplifiers of any kind.
Hearing aids and phones sometimes have difficulty with each other. Sometimes there’s feedback, sometimes things get a bit garbled, sometimes you can’t have a hard time getting the volume quite right.
One solution for this is an amplified phone. Depending on the circumstance, these phones let you control the volume of the speaker. Here are some things that these devices are good for:
- When someone has difficulty hearing phone conversations but hears fine in other circumstances.
- When multiple people in a home use a single phone.
- People who don’t use Bluetooth enabled devices, like their phone or their hearing aid.
Often called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices use lights, vibration, or occasionally loud noises to get your attention when something occurs. 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 consideration.
Alerting devices are a good option for:
- Those who have total or near total hearing loss.
- Home and office spaces.
- When you take breaks from your hearing aids.
- Situations where lack of attention could be dangerous (for instance, when a smoke alarm sounds).
So the link (sometimes frustrating) between your hearing aid and phone comes to the front. The feedback that happens when two speakers are put in front of each other is not pleasant. This is basically what occurs when you hold 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 great for:
- Anyone who regularly talks on the phone.
- Individuals who have hearing aids.
- Anybody who isn’t connected to Bluetooth in any way.
Nowadays, it has become rather commonplace for people to utilize captions and subtitles to enjoy media. You will find captions just about everywhere! Why? Because they make it a little easier to understand what you’re watching.
For individuals who have hearing loss, captions will help them be able to comprehend what they’re watching even with noisy 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 where can you get assistive listening devices? That’s a good question because it means you’ve recognized how all of these technologies can be advantageous to those who have hearing loss.
To be sure, not every strategy is right for every person. For instance, you might not need an amplifier if you have a phone with reliable volume control. If you don’t have the right kind of hearing aid, a telecoil may be useless to you.
But you have choices 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 hear the dialogue at the movies or the conversation with your grandchildren.
Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in some situations but not all. Call us as soon as possible so we can help you hear better!