Assistive Listening Devices? Do you wonder what these devices do? There are so many of these on the market, unfortunately many hard of hearing people and hearing people are not aware that these devices even exist. First off, let me tell me you what an Assistive Listening Device (ALD’s) is. These are electronic marvels that enable people who wear hearing aids and/or cochlear implants with telecoil switches to hear better in noisy situations. Most of us with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants do really well in a quiet situation; however the biggest challenge for us HA/CI user is the ability to hear in noisy situations, i.e. restaurants, bars, airports, etc. For us, our devices, pick up every noise, therefore amplifying all sounds including the ones we don’t want to hear! Therefore, this is the biggest problem! that audiologists, HA dispensers, etc. encounter when fitting their clients. So, what’s one to do? I highly recommend that the patient ask their “audie” for a compatible ALD’s for their needs.
To break it down even further, the ALD works by enabling the client to put their HA or CI on Telecoil switch, by doing this, this cuts out all the background noise and the only thing that HA/CI user hears is the voice of the immediate person using the microphone of the transmitter. I know this is pretty technical and I really don’t know how to explain this better except to tell you of my personal experiences with ALDs. I also suggest, you contact Teri Wathen if you live in Houston,Texas at HLRS6A@dars.state.tx.us
or go to this page and find a Hearing Resource Specialist in Texas that lives near you at http://www.dars.state.tx.us/dhhs/specialistlist.shtml . All these hearing loss specialists are a really great group of people, they are passionate about helping those with hearing loss. Most of them, also have their own personal hearing challenges, therefore, they are extremely sympathetic about helping others with hearing loss. These specialists also have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to ALD’s.
For instance, several years ago, when I lost all the remainder of my hearing in my left ear, my mom discovered Teri Wathen of CAAG through many phone calls. Here, I made it easier for you, click the above link. CAAG in Houston is a treasure cove. My parents and I made the trip to CAAG and I was in awe of all the ALD’s they have. It seems like hundreds! Okay, I am exaggerating, but still they have lots and you can try them all out while you are there! Furthermore, they will even loan out a system for you to try in the real world! There are gizmos that do everything but clean the toilet bowl! There are telephones, neckloop, room systems, personal systems, devices to help you with the tv, mp3 player, at work, at church, the list is endless! Folks, you must check it out! Truly, these devices help me to live my life fully in the hearing world.
What inspired me to write this article. Well, I have a horse show coming up, I use an ALD to compete. I use an FM system called “the Comtek. ” http://comtek.com This device has literally saved my life in the show ring.
The challenge for me was that I had a hard time hearing my instructors when they were giving me lessons at home, or away at a horse show. In addition, another challenge was hearing the announcer during my class at a horse show. Horse shows are tough and competitive!
In the early days, I remember looking at my instructors for hand signals. We came up with a series of hand signals, similiar to a baseball pitcher and umpire. It worked okay. However, the problem was that by looking at the instructor, it took my focus off the horse I was riding, thus creating another problem. You have to be in tandem with your horse at all times, creating the perfect picture of unity, so this gap caused me to lose my connection with the horse, even if it was momentarily. This is not good.
Luckily, Max McCarthy of Hearing Systems, at www.hearingsystemsinc.com came to the rescue, he is another great source with Les Calloway with ALD’s. They also have a gold mine of devices for you to try and they will educate you as well for the right device for you. I told him about my horse showing challenges and how I needed help hearing at meetings at work, so he told me about the Comtek. This device has been a godsend. It enabled me to hear at meetings at work and for the horse show ring.
All my horse trainers absolutely love this device. They loved how they didn’t have to shout at me anymore, or use hand signals no longer. I love it because I do not lose my concentration anymore, I can focus on the horse and ride. All my trainers want one for their hearing clients! It doesn’t work for them; however, that is how much they really like it.
I am able to use this device at horse shows too! Now, I no longer miss calls from the announcers and I able to concentrate on my ride. Yes, I had to get approval with a letter from the governing body of horse showing at USEF. There is a process to go through with USEF. It is worth every step.
I also use many other assistive listening devices, I will explore those, in another blog.
I really hope this helps everyone! Once again, I realize this is not an easy concept to grasp, therefore, I highly urge everyone to seek help with the above mentioned resources or check out my links on my blog roll, they will give you more information.
By the way, I will be giving a presentation on “How I use ALD’s in the Show Ring” at the monthly Houston HLA meeting in March 2009. All are welcome, even hearing people! I will include more details later on, 2nd Saturday am in March in Houston.
Assisted Listening Devices! Can’t live without them!
As Always, Have a sunny day! Susanna