The Role of Technology in Managing Hearing Loss

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Are you familiar with what a cyborg is? You most likely imagine a half human, half machine when you think about cyborgs, especially if you love science fiction movies (these characters are typically cleverly utilized to comment on the human condition). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely bizarre.

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

The human condition is generally enhanced with these technologies. 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.

Hearing loss drawbacks

Hearing loss certainly comes with some negatives.

When you go to the movies, it can be hard to follow along with the plot. It’s even more challenging to understand 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 due to hearing loss). And it can be profound (and often negative) how much your life can be affected.

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

How can hearing loss be addressed with technology?

Broadly speaking, technology that helps you have better hearing is lumped into the category of “assistive listening devices”. Ok, it does sound somewhat technical! You may be thinking: what are assistive listening devices? Is there somewhere I can go and purchase one of these devices? What challenges will I face?

Those are all reasonable questions!

Typically, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. That’s logical, as hearing aids are an essential part of managing hearing loss. But they’re also just the beginning, there are numerous kinds of assistive hearing devices. And you will be able to enjoy the world around you more when you correctly use these devices.

What types of assistive listening devices are there?

Induction loops

Induction loops, also called hearing loops, use technology that sounds quite complex. Here’s what you need to understand: individuals who wear hearing aids can hear more clearly in areas with a hearing loop which are typically well marked with signage.

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

  • Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other loud settings.
  • Presentations, movies, or other situations that rely on amplification.
  • Venues that tend to have a lot of echoes or have low-quality acoustics.

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 elements: a transmitter (normally a microphone or sound system) and a receiver (often in the form of a hearing aid). Here are some scenarios where an FM system will be useful:

  • Courtrooms and other government or civil buildings.
  • An occasion where amplified sound is being used, including music from a speaker or sound at a movie.
  • Anywhere that is loud and noisy, particularly where that noise makes it difficult to hear.
  • Education situations, such as classrooms or conferences.

Infrared systems

There are similarities between an infrared system and an FM system. There’s an amplifier and a receiver. Usually, the receiver is worn around the neck with an IR system. IR hearing assistance systems are great for:

  • Scenarios where there’s one primary speaker at a time.
  • People who use cochlear implants or hearing aids.
  • Indoor settings. Bright sunlight can impact the signals from an IR system. So this type of technology works best in inside spaces.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are sort of like hearing aids, just less specialized and less powerful. 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 might seem like a tricky option since they come in several styles and types.

  • For people who only need amplification in certain situations or have very minor hearing loss, these devices would be a practical choice.
  • Before you use any type of personal amplifier, consult us about it first.
  • Your essentially putting a really loud speaker right inside of your ear so you need to be careful not to further damage your hearing.

Amplified phones

Phones and hearing aids don’t always get along swimmingly. The sound can get garbled or too low in volume and sometimes you can get feedback.

Amplified phones are an option. These devices allow you to have control of the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you want, depending on the situation. These devices are good for:

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

Alerting devices

Often called signalers or notification devices, alerting devices use lights, vibration, or sometimes loud noises to get your attention when something occurs. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for example. So when something around your workplace or home needs your attention, even without your hearing aids, you’ll be conscious of it.

Alerting devices are an excellent option for:

  • When alarm sounds such as a smoke detector could create a dangerous situation.
  • When in the office or at home.
  • Anybody whose hearing is completely or almost completely gone.
  • People who intermittently take off their hearing aids (everybody needs a break now and then).


So the link (sometimes frustrating) between your hearing aid and phone becomes evident. When you put a speaker up to another speaker, it causes feedback (sometimes painful feedback). This is basically what occurs when you hold a phone speaker up to a hearing aid.

That connection can be avoided by a telecoil. You will be capable of hearing all of your calls without feedback as your telecoil connects your hearing aid directly to your phone. They’re great for:

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


Closed captions (and subtitles more broadly) have become a normal way for people to enjoy media nowadays. You will find captions pretty much everywhere! Why? Because they make it a little easier to understand what you’re watching.

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

What are the advantages 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 beneficial to people who have hearing loss.

To be sure, not every strategy is right for every individual. If you have a cell phone with easy-to-use volume control, you might not need an amplifying phone, for example. A telecoil may not even work for you if you don’t have the right kind of hearing aid.

But you have options and that’s really the point. After you begin personalizing your journey toward being an awesome cyborg, you will be ready to get the most out of your life. It’s time to get back into that conversation with your grandchildren.

Some situations will call for assistive listening technology and others won’t. If you’re interested in hearing better, call us today!

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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