The Use of Technology in Dealing With Hearing Loss

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 most likely imagine a half human, half machine when you think about cyborgs, especially if you love science fiction movies (these characters are usually cleverly used to touch on the human condition). You can get some truly fantastic cyborgs in Hollywood.

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

These technologies typically add to the human experience. Which means, if you’re using an assistive listening device, such as a hearing aid, you’re the coolest kind of cyborg in the world. And the best part is that the technology doesn’t stop there.

Disadvantages of hearing loss

There are absolutely some negative aspects that come with hearing loss.

When you go to see a movie, it can be hard to follow along with the plot. Understanding your grandkids is even more difficult (some of that is attributable to the age-gap, but mostly, it’s hearing loss). And it can be profound (and often negative) how much your life can be affected.

Left untreated, the world can get pretty quiet. That’s where technology plays a role.

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 rather technical, right? You might be thinking: what are assistive listening devices? Where can I buy assistive listening devices? What challenges will I confront?

Those are all reasonable questions!

Mostly, we’re accustomed to regarding technology for hearing loss in a very monolithic way: hearing aids. That’s logical, as hearing aids are a vital part of treating hearing loss. But they’re also just the start, there are many kinds of assistive hearing devices. And you will be able to enjoy the world around you more when you correctly utilize these devices.

What kinds of assistive listening devices are there?

Induction loops

Induction loops, also known as hearing loops, utilize technology that sounds really complex. Here are the basics: areas with hearing loops are normally well marked with signage and they can help people with hearing aids hear more clearly, even in noisy areas.

A speaker will sound clearer due to the magnetic fields in a hearing loop. Here are some examples of when an induction loop can be helpful:

  • Events that depend on amplified sound (like presentations or even movies).
  • Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other noisy settings.
  • Locations that tend to have a lot of echoes or have poor acoustics.

FM systems

These FM systems are similar to a walkie-talkie or radio. A transmitter, typically a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, such as a hearing aid, are needed for this type of system to work. FM systems are great for:

  • Courtrooms and other government or civil places.
  • Anyplace that is loud and noisy, particularly where that noise makes it challenging to hear.
  • Anybody who wants to listen to sound systems that use amplification (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).
  • Conferences, classrooms, and other educational events.

Infrared systems

There are similarities between an infrared system and an FM system. It consists of a receiver and an amplifier. Typically, the receiver is worn around the neck with an IR system. IR hearing assistance systems are great for:

  • When you’re listening to one primary person talking.
  • Indoor environments. IR systems are frequently effected by strong sunlight. So this kind of technology works best in inside spaces.
  • Individuals with hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are kind of like hearing aids, only less specialized and less powerful. Generally, they consist of a microphone and a speaker. The microphone picks up sounds and amplifies them through a speaker. Personal amplifiers come in a number of different types and styles, which might make them a confusing possible solution.

  • For best results, speak with us before using personal amplifiers of any type.
  • For individuals who only require amplification in certain circumstances or have very slight hearing loss, these devices would be a good choice.
  • You need to be careful, though, these devices can hasten the decline of your hearing, especially 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 swimmingly. The sound can become garbled or too low in volume and sometimes there can be feedback.

One solution for this is an amplified phone. Depending on the situation, these phones allow you to control the volume of the speaker. These devices are good for:

  • People who only have a difficult time understanding or hearing conversations on the phone.
  • Individuals who don’t have their phone synced to their Bluetooth hearing aid (or who don’t have Bluetooth available on either their hearing aids or their principal telephone).
  • When multiple people in a home use a single phone.

Alerting devices

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

Alerting devices are a good option for:

  • When alarm sounds such as a smoke detector could lead to a dangerous situation.
  • Individuals with total or near total hearing loss.
  • Home and office settings.
  • People who periodically take off their hearing aids (everyone needs a break now and then).


Again, we come back to the occasionally frustrating link between your telephone and your hearing aid. The feedback that happens when two speakers are put in front of each other isn’t pleasant. This is essentially what occurs when you hold a phone speaker up 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 hear all of your conversations without noise or feedback. They’re great for:

  • Those who do not have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.
  • Anyone who frequently talks on the phone.
  • Anybody who uses hearing aids.


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

For individuals who have hearing loss, captions will help them be able to comprehend what they’re watching even with loud conversations around them and can work in tandem with their hearing aids so they can hear dialog even when it’s mumbled.

The advantages of using assistive listening devices

So where can you buy assistive listening devices? That’s a good question because it means you’ve recognized how all of these technologies can be beneficial to people with hearing loss.

Obviously, every person won’t be benefited by every type of technology. If you have a cell phone with easy-to-use volume control, you may not need an amplifying phone, for instance. A telecoil might not even work for you if you don’t have the right type of hearing aid.

The point is that you have possibilities. After you start customizing 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 grandkids.

Hearing Assistive Technology can help you hear better in some situations but not all. If you want to hear 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.