Technology for people with hearing loss

Hearing aids are the products most people probably associate with hearing loss. Unfortunately, many believe they banish the problems of impaired hearing at a stroke – but hearing aids cannot (usually) restore normal hearing.  So, what is their purpose? Hearing aids are effective and highly portable general purpose amplifiers of sound: they enable you to communicate with people around you and to interface with the environment, in situations that you might otherwise find difficult or impossible.  It does not mean, however, that they are the best, or only solution for every situation.

There’s an ever-expanding range of electronic products and systems that can ease some of the challenges of daily life. How valuable any particular product will be to you though will depend on your lifestyle and on your degree of hearing loss.

Products that have been specially developed to benefit deaf and hard of hearing people are often known as opens a new windowAssistive Listening Devices . Unfortunately, such products are rarely available in High Street shops – so you’ll need to use a specialist mail order supplier if you wish to buy any of these.  Alternatively – and depending on the policy of your local authority – you may get help with certain products via your local social services department.  However, while social services have a statutory duty to assess your needs, they are not required to provide them.

Bearing in mind that general consumer products can be very helpful too, so it pays to consider your needs carefully when buying.  For example, when choosing a new TV set or telephone, you’ll likely find models with features that could help ease some of the effects of your hearing loss.

You can contact RNID’s Information Line on 0808 808 0123 for guidance on where to buy assistive products .

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