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Assistive Listening Devices for Television

Contributed by , President of Healthy Hearing

People who are experience hearing loss may have trouble with everyday activities like talking on the phone, listening to music and watching television. If you find that you are always reaching for the clicker to turn the volume up on your TV set, you might be able to benefit from a television amplifier system or assistive listening devices. Additionally, you may find that using captioning on your television will help you better understand some of your favorite television programs.

Assistive listening devices

Assistive listening devices for those without hearing impairment may come with headphones.
Assistive listening devices for those without
hearing impairment may come with

People with hearing loss sometimes need a slight boost in order to hear at the same level as those with the full ability to hear dialogue. It's possible to get devices that help users increase the volume of sound on the radio or television, making these forms of entertainment fully enjoyable. Assistive listening devices are also helpful tools because they minimize background noise, increasing the overall clarity of sound.

When you are using assistive listening devices for television, there are several options to choose from. Typically a microphone is plugged directly into the source to collect the sound without additional background noise. Then, the sound can travel directly to a hearing aid via a wireless connection or through a telecoil if a user has both a hearing aid and assistive listening device.

Digital technology and hearing aids also help those who are hard of hearing watch television and understand clear speech. New advancements and innovations are constantly being introduced that allow individuals to specifically tailor their hearing aids to what they need. With this technology, doing everyday activities like watching television is easier, because these devices alleviate difficult tasks like hearing with background noise, tone and pitch.

Wireless stream

Some modern hearing aids are equipped with wireless capabilities that make it easier to hear the television without turning the volume up high. Along with these devices, individuals with these types of hearing aids can stream television dialog with an additional system and the use of Bluetooth technology. These systems are great because users are able to adjust the sound appropriately so they can hear clearly without background noise.

Television amplifiers

A television amplifier – sometimes referred to as a TV hearing aid – is a simple-to-use device that can work both with and without hearing aids and does not require an earphone socket. People with hearing loss who live with others can benefit from a television amplifier because it doesn't affect the overall volume of the television, making it an enjoyable experience for everyone watching. When using a television amplifier, a small microphone is attached to your TV set with Velcro. The microphone is then connected through a wire that feeds to a set of headphones or a neckloop that is transmitted directly to your hearing aids.

Induction loops

Healthy Hearing Tip
An induction loop, or neckloop, is an excellent option for individuals who have trouble hearing sound when background noise is present.

If you have trouble hearing sound when there is background noise, an induction loop, or neckloop, is probably a good option. These devices improve the overall clarity of sound when used with a telecoil on hearing aids. A small microphone is placed near the speaker of your television, which picks up the sound and transmits it to an amplifier on the loop. Many public buildings and theaters also have this type of system, making it possible for you to hear while you are out as well.

Infrared systems

Infrared systems are even more discreet than other hearing aid devices. While wearing a small receiver around your neck, this system features no cords; instead it relies on the transmission of light to a the receiver. An infrared system is connected to headphones or an induction loop and can be used with hearing aids or without them. Additionally, the infrared system can be used with a television as well as a radio.

Earphones / headphones

TV ears are a popular ALD for television.
TV Ears are a popular
ALD for television.

When you are watching television on your own, using earphones or headphones can make it much easier to comprehend speech without having to avoid background noise. These simple-to-use devices plug directly into your television as long as it has an earphone socket. One such product, TV Ears, is a wireless headset that allows you to have complete control over the volume and tone of your sound - which is great for people with hearing loss because your threshold of frequency may be different that others' thresholds. TV Ears features include television audio processing and automatic commercial control. This device can also be adjusted to different listening environments.


Hearing aid technology works with Bluetooth to connect to audio devices with a switch of a button. With this capability, your hearing aids are able to work as several different types of devices. You can quickly turn your hearing aids into a hands-free headset that allows for optimal hearing. Bluetooth allows you to connect to the television, switch over to a landline or cell phone, and it works as a remote control. The wireless connection is simple to activate and can decrease the amount of wires and other devices being used.

Captioned television

Closed captioning is the most popular option for people with hearing loss to fully understand their favorite television shows. On July 1, 2001, the Federal Communications Commission required all digital television receivers to have closed captioning display. Closed Captioning allows you to both hear and see speech on the television. This is a great option for people with hearing loss because it makes it possible to comprehend what is going on in a program without any additional devices.

This content was last reviewed on: November 21st, 2014

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