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Types of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

Types of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

Types of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

May is Better Hearing Month and to celebrate we’re giving away a different prize each week!
Week 3 is a Sennheiser wireless TV/audio transmitter. Call us today for your chance to win!*

“I hear fine but I can’t understand anything on the TV anymore!” “My husband has to watch the TV downstairs; I can’t stand the volume!” “I hear everywhere EXCEPT at church!” And so on and so on.

There are many of us who have perfectly normal hearing, or maybe the beginning of some hearing loss, and we get along quite well everywhere EXCEPT… concerts, plays, meetings, listening to the TV, etc. The moment of frustration is as unique as the individual who experiences it.

Did you know there is a whole class of devices made just for you? They are called Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), and there is a huge selection of options that work well in one or several situations. Broadly, there are only a few classes of ALDs: TV/audio, amplification, and hearing-aid compatible.

  • TV/audio
    ALDs that are compatible with the TV or audio are usually wireless (the best) and use either infrared or radio-frequency (RF) to transmit the audio — from virtually any source — to the listener. There is little sonic difference between IR and RF, but the IR systems do not allow you to leave the room or move very far from the transmitter’s line of sight.

    The RF systems can transmit up to 300 feet and are usually the better choice. The prices range from about $60 to over $300, and each is a good investment depending on your budget and your needs. As with any electronic, get the best you can afford and make sure there is someone local who can help with installation. We have a good selection at Vibrant Hearing, and we are happy to install and show you how to use them!,/li>

  • Amplification
    Some ALDs focus on amplification across rooms — conference rooms, churches, waiting rooms, etc. Other amplification devices are engineered for very intimate situations or conversations. There are two types of amplification ALDs: direct-wired and FM.

    The FM system has a transmitter and a receiver, and it usually covers a distance of 150–300 feet. Most can easily be adapted to one or more listeners. These systems are excellent for churches, meeting rooms, conference spaces, etc. They allow you to hear from great distances without the bother of intervening noises or poor room acoustics.

    The direct-wired system has a receiver and earphones and an attached microphone. The microphone may have an extension cable that allows the speaker to sit at a more comfortable distance from the listener, usually no more than 10 feet. This type of system is the less expensive of the two and is perfect for doctors’ visits, nursing homes, or at a kitchen table or on a car ride.

  • Hearing-aid compatible ALDs
    I think these are the most impressive, and, believe it or not, they are usually the least expensive. Most of today’s hearing aids have wireless capability that allows them to communicate with other devices. With little hassle, you can add a Bluetooth® receiver for your cell phone, or a microphone for your dinner partner, or a TV transmitter. There are even a couple hearing aid manufacturers that produce Bluetooth cordless home phones that will allow your hearing aid to receive calls from your home phone!
  • Wherever and whenever you experience trouble hearing and listening, there is a solution. Contact Vibrant Hearing and set up a consultation — we will be happy to help keep you Vibrant!


    *Entries accepted between May 15-19, 2017. Open to Montana residents only.