Quad Cities, IL/IA

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The Right Solution for Your Hearing Problem


By Ellen Verlo, MA, CCC-A

Q: What devices, other than hearing aids, are available to help me when I’m not hearing well?

A: There are literally thousands of devices available to help someone who is having hearing difficulties. If you have hearing loss, hearing aids are going to be on the top of the list. For many reasons, you may not be ready to purchase or think you need hearing aids. Where are you having difficulties? Are you having problems hearing TV? On the phone? Are you struggling to hear in noisy places or in challenging work environments? There are devices specifically for each problem listed above. 

Problems with the TV?  Most people don’t realize that flat screen TV speakers are on the back of the TV. Often the sound or volume of the TV has to be turned up louder than usual just to get the desired level of speech clarity. A sound bar, that is plugged into your TV and put in front of the screen, can make a difference in speech clarity. Wireless speakers that sit next to your chair can improve speech understanding as well. When the TV volume is lower, other sounds in the room don’t interfere as much so listening effort is easier. There are even products that drape over the back of your chair with dual speakers so the sound is directly next to your ears, similar to headphones. Keep in mind the device you choose should be easy to use and adjust to your needs.

Problems with the phone? There are many ways to improve hearing on the phone. Improved hearing with a landline phone can be as simple as getting a phone with volume adjustment. Most phones also have a speaker phone option. The phone just needs to be near your ear and mouth in order to use it.  For people with poor speech recognition, there are phones that convert the speaker’s message into a typed message. This type of specialty phone may require the installation of internet service to the home. For improved hearing using a cell phone again, make sure the volume of the phone is set to comfortable. Speaker phone option is helpful but not always possible or appropriate. There are devices that allow cell phone conversations to be heard through a Bluetooth device worn on one or both ears.

Problems hearing in noisy places or in challenging environments? These are harder to find if you do not want to use hearing aids. There are personal amplifiers that have either an earbud or headphones attached. The device can be worn on the body of the listener like an old-fashioned body-type hearing aid or held by the speaker. These devices are very basic with no way to adjust the sound to the listener preference.

There are so many different types of devices available to help someone hear better but they tend to be specific to the type of problem. Contact your Audiologist so she can help find the best device for you.

If you have questions about this article or your hearing health, please feel free to contact Audiology Consultants at 563-355-7712 or visit audiologyconsultants.com