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Your Better Hearing Assistance Devices

Aug 26, 2008
The hearing aid was considered an impressive advancement from its ancestors, which were known as the ear horn or the ear trumpet. Someone who had difficulty hearing would have to actually lift a trumpet shaped object up to the ear, and the trumpet would gather sound waves and vibrations, collecting them towards the eardrum. Many advancements in hearing have been made since the days of the ear trumpet. From hearing aids to cochlear implants and beyond, the art of improving hearing has recently been given a shove from the world of technology. Not only do we now have devices that can modulate and amplify sounds to ease hearing, listening, and conversation, there are also systems and devices that use everything from infrared signals down to wires to take a hearing opportunity and transform it into a listening experience.

From movie theaters to conference rooms to concert halls and arenas, hearing assistance devices have become a necessity for people needing assistance with hearing and listening. A vast array of devices is available to meet this need, whether the purpose is to provide a more satisfactory musical sound, provide a complete alternative to sound (like using lights to convey messages), or to translate from one language entirely to another. These systems are not hearing aids; hearing aids are designed to amplify existing sounds for the wearers ear. Hearing assistance devices, on the other hand, can change sound completely into a sensation like vibration, or into a sight, like using color. They can help translate one language to another at meetings, conferences, and gatherings across the world, knocking down all kinds of language barriers.

There are three basic types of large area devices. Large area devices are the most common of the assistance systems. These are the FM radio, the infrared, and the induction loop (wire around the room) systems. The wired systems, the induction loops, are the most basic. A loop of wire connected to an amplifier is laid around the perimeter of the listening area, and it creates a magnetic audio field that is picked up by hearing receivers. FM radio devices are wireless, use receivers and transmitters, and utilize radio waves to ease communication. The infrared devices use infrared (IR) waves to complete the task, and are the newest technology, using modulators, panels, and receivers. Companies dedicated to designing, manufacturing, and maintaining these invaluable systems include Bosch, Taiden, and Listen Technologies.
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