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The New Age of Assistive Hearing Devices

Oct 12, 2007
Hearing aid devices now come in many different styles such as behind-the-ear (BTE) aids, usually the largest and least expensive, in-the-ear (ITE) aids, in-the-canal (ITC) aids, and even newer for the Western market, completely-in-the-canal (CIC) aids, which cost about $2,000. There are even implantable hearing aid devices that work just like regular hearing aids but are directly connected to the bone of the ear. These implantable devices are currently available in some countries, although not here in the United States as of yet.

All hearing aids function in generally the same way. They take the sound coming into the microphone in the device, amplify it and then a receiver acting like a speaker outputs the sound in an acoustic form so the wearer can hear it.

When someone is concerned about a potential hearing problem, they should visit their doctor. If hearing loss is suspected, the patient will be referred to an audiologist who tests the person's hearing. If needed, the audiologist will fit the right type of hearing device for the person. An ear mold and impression of the person's ear will be taken and used to that is used to make the device fit properly in the ear. It's very important that the device is fitted properly to prevent squealing which is caused by the hearing aid not sitting right.

For someone who isn't sure they want a hearing aid but want to find out how they feel before going to the expense of ordering and fitting a permanent one, a disposable type of hearing aid is about to be released onto the market. These disposable aids should last around 40 days, which is about the the life of the battery. The cost of this new device will be about $40.

In addition to traditional hearing aids, there are other types of assistive hearing devices for the home or office. Phones can be fitted with flashers to indicate when there is a call. Vibrator devices can be clipped to a belt and worn so that if the phone rings, the person feels the vibrational signal. Alarm clocks can also be fitted with flashers and vibrators can be attached to a bed leg to signal that it's wake up time. Just about anything can be made into an assistive device these days. These devices are a good option for those people who don't want a hearing aid per se, but maybe just want a little assistance.

Many theaters now have a microphone system using either an FM or infrared signal that enables a person wearing a hearing aid in the audience to hear the show just as well as if they were sitting right on stage. Additionally, closed caption broadcasting on television is increasingly common, and a fantastic option for people who are hearing impaired. Closed captioning works by attaching a decoder to a television which causes a running line with the dialogue of the program to appear on the bottom of the screen for them to read.

All telecommunication companies offer relay services for people who are hearing impaired. This involves an operator who takes a person's words, types them and sends them to the person on the phone who is hearing-impaired. That person reads the words on a device attached to the phone. All conversations take place between the operator and the caller.

Another great device is used in elementary schools, secondary schools and even colleges and universities. In the classroom, students can use hearing devices that pick up a teacher's words from a cordless microphone worn by the teacher. The signal from the teacher's cordless microphone is captured by a reciever worn by the student.

There's definitely no shortage of hearing aid devices and assistive hearing devices available in the world today. From disposable hearing aids to flashing lights, assistive devices come in many shapes and styles. There is some sort of fix for just about any situation you come across. With all this fancy stuff avaiable out there, you'd think hearing problems would be a thing of the past. This is easier said than done, however, since there is a major problem. The problem is many people with hearing impairments don't get the help they need because they dont even know that all these nifty devices are available to them. We all should do our part to try to get the word out to those who need to know about it.
About the Author
Denise Villani an author and the webmaster of several article directories. Find more articles and information by visiting ITDeeevSense.com .
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