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What is a cyborg? You likely imagine a half human, half machine when you think of a cyborg, particularly if you love science fiction movies (these characters are typically cleverly used to touch on the human condition). Hollywood cyborgs can seem extremely bizarre.

But the reality is that, technically, anyone who wears a pair of glasses could be viewed as a cyborg. The glasses, in fact, are a technology that has been incorporated into biology.

These technologies typically add to the human condition. So, if you’re wearing an assistive listening device, such as a hearing aid, you’re the coolest kind of cyborg anywhere. And the best part is that the technology doesn’t stop there.

Hearing loss negative aspects

There are definitely some drawbacks that come with hearing loss.

It’s difficult to follow the plot when you go see a movie. It’s even harder to make out what your grandkids are talking about (part of this is because you have no clue what K-pop is, and you never will, but mostly it’s due to hearing loss). And it can be profound (and often negative) how much your life can be affected.

The world can become very quiet if your hearing loss is neglected. That’s where technology plays a role.

How can hearing loss be managed with technology?

“Assistive listening device” is the broad category that any device which helps your hearing is put into. Ok, it does sound somewhat technical! You might be thinking: what are assistive listening devices? Is there someplace I can go and buy one of these devices? Are there challenges to utilizing assistive listening devices?

Those are all fair questions!

Typically, hearing aids are what we think of when we think about hearing aid technology. Because hearing aids are an essential part of dealing with hearing loss, that’s reasonable. But hearing aids aren’t the only type of assistive hearing device. And, used properly, these hearing devices can help you more completely enjoy the world around you.

What kinds of assistive listening devices are there?

Induction loops

Sometimes called a “hearing loop,” the technology behind an induction loop sounds really complicated (there are electromagnetic fields involved). Here’s what you need to understand: individuals who wear hearing aids can hear more clearly in areas with a hearing loop which are typically well marked with signage.

Essentially, hearing loops use magnetic fields to make a speaker’s voice more clear. Induction loops are good for:

  • Locations that tend to have lots of echoes or have poor acoustics.
  • Presentations, movies, or other events that rely on amplification.
  • Lobbies, waiting rooms, and other noisy settings.

FM systems

An FM hearing assistance system works a lot like a radio or a walkie-talkie. A transmitter, typically a speaker or microphone, and a receiver, like a hearing aid, are required for this kind of system to work. Here are a few scenarios where an FM system will be useful:

  • Anyplace that is loud and noisy, especially where that noise makes it challenging to hear.
  • Courtrooms and other government or civil places.
  • Education situations, like classrooms or conferences.
  • Anybody who wants to listen to amplified sound systems (this includes things like a speaker during a presentation or dialogue during a movie).

Infrared systems

An infrared system is a lot like an FM system. There’s an amplifier and a receiver. With an IR system, the receiver is often worn around your neck (sort of like a lanyard). Here are some instances where IR systems can be helpful:

  • Individuals with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
  • When you’re listening to one main person talking.
  • Indoor settings. IR systems are often impacted by strong sunlight. So this kind of technology works best in inside settings.

Personal amplifiers

Personal amplifiers are a lot like less specialized and less powerful versions of a hearing aid. They’re generally composed of a microphone and a speaker. The sound is being amplified through the speakers after being picked up by the microphone. Personal amplifiers might seem like a confusing solution since they come in several styles and types.

  • These devices are good for individuals who have very mild hearing loss or only require amplification in specific situations.
  • Your essentially putting a really loud speaker right inside of your ear so you need to be careful not to damage your hearing further.
  • Before you use any type of personal amplifier, talk to us about it first.

Amplified phones

Hearing aids and phones often have trouble with each other. Sometimes there’s feedback, sometimes things get a little garbled, sometimes you can’t have a hard time getting the volume quite right.

Amplified phones are a solution. These devices allow you to have control of the volume of the phone’s speaker, so you can make it as loud or quiet as you want, depending on the situation. These devices are good for:

  • When numerous people in a home use a single phone.
  • Individuals who only have a hard time hearing or understanding conversations on the phone.
  • People who don’t use Bluetooth enabled devices, like their phone or their hearing aid.

Alerting devices

When something happens, these devices (sometimes called signalers or notification devices) use loud noises, vibrations, and flashing lights to get your attention. When the microwave bings, the doorbell dings, or the phone rings, for instance. This means even if you aren’t wearing your hearing aids, you’ll still be alert when something around your home or office requires your attention.

Alerting devices are an excellent solution for:

  • Anyone whose hearing is completely or almost completely gone.
  • When you take breaks from your hearing aids.
  • When in the office or at home.
  • Situations where lack of attention could be hazardous (for example, when a smoke alarm goes off).


Once again, we come back to the sometimes frustrating connection between your telephone and your hearing aid. When you hold a speaker up to another speaker, it produces feedback (sometimes painful feedback). This is basically what happens when you put a phone speaker up to a hearing aid.

That connection can be avoided by a telecoil. It will connect your hearing aid to your phone directly, so you can hear all of your conversations without interference or feedback. They’re great for:

  • People who talk on the phone frequently.
  • People who have hearing aids.
  • Individuals who don’t have access to Bluetooth hearing aids or phones.


These days, it has become fairly commonplace for people to use captions and subtitles to enjoy media. Everybody uses captions! Why? Because they make what you’re watching a bit easier to understand.

When you’re dealing with hearing loss, captions can work in combination with your hearing aids, helping you understand mumbled dialogue or ensuring you can follow your favorite show even when there’s distracting conversation nearby.

The advantages of using assistive listening devices

So where can you buy assistive listening devices? This question implies a recognition of the benefits of these technologies for people who use hearing aids.

Clearly, every person won’t be benefited by every kind of technology. If you have a cell phone with easy-to-use volume control, you might not require an amplifying phone, for example. A telecoil might not even work for you if you don’t have the right type of hearing aid.

But you have options and that’s really the point. After you start customizing your journey toward being an awesome cyborg, you will be ready to get the most out of your life. It’s time to get back into that conversation with your grandkids.

Some situations will call for assistive listening technology and some won’t. Call us right away so we can help you hear better!

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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