Assistive listening devices are devices which are intended to allow people with disabilities to perform tasks independently and to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Assistive Technology devices help people access technology when they might not otherwise be able to. This include things like screen readers, magnification software, voice command software, and extra-large keyboards, along with software which helps people navigate their computers or use the Internet. Assistive technology can also include devices which help people communicate if they have difficulty speaking, and devices which are intended to facilitate communication with people who are developmentally disabled. With improvements in the field of technology, numerous examples of assistive technology are constantly emerging.
The goal of assistive devices is to empower people with disabilities so that they can engage in tasks they would like to perform without needing to ask someone for help. Without an assistive device, someone might have trouble doing something, whether it's opening a jar of pasta sauce or talking with a friend over the phone. Assistive devices promote independence by creating solutions which allow people to do things without having to rely on someone else.
An Assistive listening device (ALD) is used to provide hearing ability for people in a variety of situations. A common usage is to aid people who are hard of hearing. The ALD may be used to help people hear televisions and other audio devices and also to help people hear speech through public address (PA) systems such as in church or at a lecture.
The assistive listening device is usually used as a system where the audio source is broadcast wirelessly over an FM frequency. The person who is listening may use a small FM Receiver to tune into the signal and listen at their preferred volume.
Some people may wonder why a person who is chronically hard of hearing does not pursue medical treatment to improve their condition or obtain a hearing aid. There are many possible answers. Hearing aids can be prohibitively expensive for older people on limited incomes or those without sufficient health insurance. A professional audiologist can assess the level of hearing loss and suggest various treatments, but cannot force a client to obtain a hearing aid or undergo delicate surgery. Some people may also understand their hearing is not as good as it once was, but admitting such a decline can be socially or professionally embarrassing for them.