What are assistive listening devices (ALDs), and who can benefit from them?

Assistive listening devices include any mechanism used to help a hard of hearing person function in situations where hearing loss might otherwise prevent his/her full participation, enjoyment, or benefit. There’s a wide range of materials to help hard of hearing people to hear better at work, at home, and in social and public settings.

People with hearing loss may not be able to hear the doorbell or telephone; a flashing light or louder ringer for the doorbell, and volume control devices on the telephone may be sufficient for some to hear these sounds. Those with more severe hearing loss may require a special telephone that allows them to converse in written form. Since people remove their hearing aids at night, a regular alarm clock may not be loud enough to waken them. Vibrating alarms placed under the pillow or mattress will “shake one awake”.

Most TV channels now provide captioning for the hard of hearing and deaf. Hearing ear dogs are now used by some hard of hearing people both in the home and when outside the home to alert the person to dangers and to sounds they can’t hear.

Click on Access to learn more about the different types of equipment that’s available, as well as other useful devices and services to enhance hearing and participation.