Hearing Aids and Other Hearing Assistance Devices You May Not Have Previously Considered
Thanks to advances in technology, today’s hearing aids do an astounding job of helping those with hearing loss to enhance communication with the world around them. However, there are situations when additional assistance is still required.
Some hearing aid users, for example, often continue to experience trouble understanding speech in distracting environments, when watching television or attending a play or movie theater, or during phone calls. While sleeping, a person with even slight hearing loss may not hear if the smoke alarm down the hall goes off. That same person may also miss hearing the doorbell chime while listening to the radio or watching TV.
Home & Hearth Caregivers of Chicago, IL shares information on the following hearing assistance devices, which may help:
- Alerting Programs
Alerting devices are available that can advise a person about either one particular type of event or a series of events. For instance, a person living in a one-room studio apartment may require a simple device to flash a light when someone is at the door, while someone else who lives in a larger home with many rooms might benefit more from a system that triggers flashing lights in each room of the house when someone rings the doorbell, calls on the phone, or if the fire alarm is activated. Alerting devices can also be programmed with a combination of signals; a carbon monoxide or smoke detector could simultaneously trigger flashing lights in each room of the house, an audible alarm, and a vibrating device (pager, bed shaker) or a fan, for instance.
The ability for someone with reduced hearing to hear the phone ring will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the hearing problem, the duration of the telephone ring and the distance from the phone to the individual. There are several different types of phone amplifiers that can be attached to a regular telephone, as well as a wide variety of amplified phone options.
Most cell phones are also now hearing aid compatible, and can be used with a cell phone amplifier and/or a text message option for calls. For those who are unable to hear clearly over a voice telephone, even with an amplifier, there are other devices that can help, such as the “voice carry over” (VCO) or “read and talk” phones. Used in conjunction with a telephone relay service, VCO allows the user to speak directly to the other person while an operator translates what is being said into text that is displayed on a small screen.
For many people with hearing loss, the agitation associated with watching TV is sometimes simply one of distance. When someone watches TV from a distance, not only does the sound signal weaken as it travels from the TV to the person’s ears, but the acoustical characteristics of the room can cause the sound to be less distinct.
Some televisions come with jacks for an earphone or a transmitter to be plugged into. There are many other TV enhancement options as well, such as wireless transmitters and receivers.
Below are several companies that sell these and other hearing loss support devices:
- Harris Communications: www.harriscomm.com
- Silent Call Communications: www.silentcall.com
- HITEC: www.hitec.com
Along with providing the professional companionship of a caregiver who is experienced in helping those with hearing loss, Home & Hearth Caregivers can assist older adults in remaining independent and safe within their home and daily environment. Call 800-349-0663 for more resources and tips to help manage hearing loss, or to set up a free in-home consultation to learn more about our Chicago senior care solutions.