A comparison of assisted listening system technologies
By Dr. Carol Meyers
Hearing aids are remarkable. They help people with hearing loss engage in conversation with friends and family, even in crowded environments. They restore the ability to enjoy the pleasant sounds of life — birds chirping, children laughing, the everyday sounds —paper rustling, heels tapping — and the less pleasant but necessary noises —car horns beeping, sirens blaring. Hearing aids are truly modern miracles that pack very sophisticated technology and sound processing into the smallest of devices.
But sometimes hearing aids alone aren’t enough. Much like regular tires are perfectly good for cars in the warmer months but snow tires are needed to drive in challenging winter conditions, hearing aids need a boost in situations where speakers are situated far from audiences, or a play is being held in a large auditorium where ambient noise interferes with speech, like during a graduation ceremony. That’s where assistive listening technology comes into play. Hearing aid wearers aren’t usually seeking more amplification when in public venues. What they need is better speech understanding, and the ability to suppress background noises while bringing speech to the forefront.