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Explore Types of Hearing Technology in more detail :

Assistive Listening Devices

Hearing technologies do not provide perfect hearing, and there may still be difficulties in noise, in reverberant situations (where lots of echoes make the sound indistinct) and over distance: the level of sound decreases dramatically over distance. Assistive listening devices such as FM systems, sometimes called radio aids, can help to overcome these problems.  Increasingly wireless technology is being used, with blue tooth systems becoming common.

FM (radio)/Wireless Systems

FM or radio hearing aid systems have been used in education for some time to overcome the problems of background noise, reverberation and distance to enable the pupil to hear the teacher more clearly. Typically the pupil wears a receiver and the teacher wears a microphone transmitter. These systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated and flexible in use. Please visit the Phonak website for a range of wireless systems available. With increasing sophistication, these systems are increasingly being used with young children, before they go to school, to improve their listening abilities and access to spoken language. They are also increasingly of interest to adults to enable them to listen more easily at work, in meetings and in social groups.  Wireless lapel or table top microphones and remote controls make the systems easier to use and less conspicuous.

For children and their parents, please visit this National Deaf Children’s Society website page which provides a useful document: Quality Standards for FM systems. For an example of an assistive listening device, please visit this Phonak website page for more information about the Roger Pen.

Sound Field Systems

Soundfield systems use a number of speakers in a classroom or other setting. It enables listeners to hear the speaker clearly wherever they are in the room. Please visit this Connevans Limited website page for further information on deaf equipment.

Loop Systems

Loop systems have been in use for many years, but like other technology have become more sophisticated. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to ‘T’ (Telecoil) setting; please visit this Hearing Link website page which provides a good description. The hearing loop consists a loop cable placed round a specific area such as a theatre or church to create a magnetic field. When the microphone is used, if the hearing technology has a telecoil facility,  the user will be able to pick up a clear signal.  This sign is used where a loop system is available. Please visit this American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website page for more information on loop systems.
There are a range of other Hearing Assistive Technology Systems including:
  • Computerised speech recognition software such as Dragon
  • Subtitled or captioned TV
  • Speech to Text Reporting (STTR) systems, where a lecture, or meeting can be displayed verbatim on a screen; the typist, or  STTR or palantypist may be on-line
  • Telephone amplifying devices for cordless, cell, digital, and wired phones
  • Amplified answering machines
  • Amplified telephones with different frequency responses
  • Text telephones, with screen
  • Loud doorbells
  • Wake-up alarms (loud bell or vibrating clock)