Hearing Assistive Technology, or HAT as it is commonly referred to, is technology that can help in various listening situations.
Assistive listening Technology is technology that can help in various listening situations. Often, a hearing aid or an implant is not enough. In such cases, there are technologies that are designed to help people hear better. These are designed to enhance telephone communication, TV reception or listening in various kinds of public venues.
Whether in a theater, in a house of worship, or at a sporting event, people want to experience every word and hear every sound. That's what they come to events for, and they deserve to participate by hearing every single word. But what if someone has a hard time hearing at an event
Although many are OK listening to a standard sound system or PA and others have their own hearing aid, there are inevitably several people in every gathering who could use a little hearing help. Some hear fine but want an enhanced auditory experience.
In these cases, you may want to consider trying an Assistive Listening Device or ALD.
Hearing devices can be used to overcome the effects of background noise, poor room acoustics or far distance from the speaker. And for people who are hard of hearing, an assisted listening device may be used with or without a hearing aid. There are a variety of listening systems on the market, all designed to provide an easy-to-use and convenient wireless sound solution for you or your patrons and guests.
What are some examples of Assistive Listening Devices
1. Personal frequency modulation (FM) systems.
These are like miniature radio stations. They operate on special frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission. They usually consist of a transmitter microphone used by the speaker and a receiver and headset used by the listener.
FM systems are used in a variety of situations such as listening to a tour guide, a classroom lecturer, a sales trainer, a church leader, or to sounds at sporting event or theatre. In most situations, the microphone and transmitter is built into the overall sound system. You or your customer is provided with a FM receiver that can connect to a headset or even to a hearing aid.
2. Infrared systems.
Infrared systems transmit sound using infrared light waves. Although they are often used in the home with TV sets, they can also be used in large settings like theaters and sporting events.
3. Hearing Aids
A hearing aid is an electro acoustic body worn apparatus which typically fits in or behind the wearer's ear, and is designed to amplify and modulate sounds for the wearer.
Many types of hearing aids exist today for the hearing impaired and elderly. All hearing aids work by collecting sounds from the environment through a microphone, amplifying the sound and then directing this amplified signal into your ear by way of a loudspeaker. The amplified signal stimulates your inner ear, which activates nerve fibers that carry the sound impulses to your brain.
In most cases, it's better to have two hearing aids. Wearing two (binaural) hearing aids allows more information to reach your brain and makes it easier to hear speech against background noise. Getting used to a hearing aid takes time. Your listening skills should improve gradually as you become accustomed to amplification. The sound you hear is different because it's amplified. Even your own voice sounds strange when you wear a hearing aid.
Whatever system you end up using for your organization's listening needs, it is important to pick a company that sells a wide range of solution and technology that can tailored to your specific needs. One size does not fit all in the ALD industry. Likewise, it is important to be able to try the equipment before you purchase a system. You really need to know first hand how an assistive listening system will benefit you.
Compiled by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).