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What are the varieties of assistive listening devices?

Assistive listening devices are predominantly useful for people suffering from loss in hearing capabilities. These devices are especially recommended for people who find it difficult to hear another person's voice clearly due to various environmental disturbances. There are many varieties of assistive listening devices, and this article will shed some light on them.

Working of hearing devices

The speaker speaks through a microphone or transmitter. Depending on the type of listening device (wired or wireless), the voice is transmitted to the receiver worn by the listener. In the case of a classroom, the student is able to clearly listen to the instructor since echo and other noise interferences are completely eliminated during the process of sending audio signals to the receiver.

Types of assistive listening devices

Wired and wireless devices Listening devices may use wired or wireless technologies to transmit audio signals. While wireless listening devices use light rays, radio frequencies or magnetic inductive energy, wired devices use direct electrical connection to transmit sound waves to the receiver. Since each of these technologies has their own advantages and disadvantages, it is advisable to consult an experienced audiologist who can suggest appropriate devices for the individual suffering from hearing disorders. Portable frequency modulated system, which is operated with battery, uses radio transmission method to send audio signals. The person speaks over a microphone attached to a transmitter. The sound waves are transmitted to the receiver worn by the student. In the case of Soundfield amplification system, the person’s voice is transmitted through loudspeakers that are placed strategically at a location (ceiling, wall or near the student) that would benefit the listener. Induction loop systems transmit audio signals using electromagnetic waves. The voice of the instructor is picked by the microphone. It is then amplified and sent to the receiver (generally a telecoil switch) worn by the listener through a loop or wire that creates an invisible electromagnetic field. While small loops can be hidden under a chair or table, large loops can even encircle an entire room.

Advantages of assistive listening devices

Assistive listening devices facilitate listening by ensuring that the speaker’s voice reaches the listener clearly. This can greatly improve the quality of life of a hearing-impaired person or of a person who is suffering from loss of hearing. Listening devices work as hearing aids. They are often useful for students who are suffering from varying levels of attention deficit disorders as well as learning disabilities. They can improve students' listening abilities.

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