When hearing aids aren’t enough

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Hearing aids  provide numerous benefits to you if you have a hearing impairment. Whilst hearing aids are unable to restore your hearing back to perfection, they are able to significantly improve your ability to communicate and understand, which in turn can have a positive impact on your physical, social and psychological well-being.

However, in some more challenging situations, despite wearing hearing aids, you can still have difficulty hearing and understanding speech. If this is the case, special devices known as Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) can be used to enhance your listening experience. The ALD  improves the clarity of the person you want to hear, making it easier to understand, which in turn reduces the amount of effort required to follow conversations, so you experience a more pleasureable listening experience.


Whilst ALD’s are not a replacement for great hearing aids, they can expand their functionality by improving the sound quality in the presence of background noise or enabling you to hear when the speaker is much further away. such as in a talk or lecture. Essentially, ALD’s are devices that bring  distant sounds closer to the ear. ALD’s also include devices which provide vibration type alerts to certain sounds. 

There are a number of ALD’s available, including; hearing aid compatible phones and smartphones, television compatible devices and loop systems for public settings, The alerting ALD devices include; vibrating alarm clocks, flashing doorbells, smoke alarms and baby monitors 

If you are interested in exploring what assistive listening devices can do for you then I would encourage you to speak to your audiologist. Explain to them the difficulties you are experiencing with communication and they will be able to suggest possible solutions for you to consider. Anothet great resource is Action On Hearing Loss, they have a downloadable product catalogue and also an online shop which you could browse.

Lucy-Anne Hastings

Clinical Audiologist