Today, over 10 million hearing impaired people live in the UK. Many of the home devices and technology that we take for granted, while our hearing abilities are intact, are either difficult or in some cases impossible to use in their standard form by this large group. If you or someone you know is hard of hearing, here is a selection of assistive devices that have been specifically developed to help fill this technological gap. Having any of these clever accessories in your home will certainly improve your lifestyle and communication with other people.
Off the shelf doorbells are often impractical for the hearing impaired because they provide basic amplification in terms of dB and no additional sensory cues. Doorbell devices that have been customised for the hard of hearing often provide flashing lights, an amplified ringer of around 80dB to 100dB (compared to the 20dB standard ringer) and wireless connectivity so that they can be placed conveniently around the home. Such a device will be of great convenience not just for you, but for everyone who wants to visit. A great example that you can see at Hearing Direct is Geemarc AmpliCALL20 Doorbell and Telephone Ring Indicator, which features an extra loud ringer (95 dB), 4 alarm options (off, light + alarm, light + shaker, alarm + shaker) and can be used to amplify the ring of both doorbells and telephones.
These are available as both cordless and corded types, similar to standard phones. The hard of hearing or those working in extremely noisy conditions, such as heavy industrial/commercial buildings and construction sites will not be able to communicate effectively through the regular devices, because they offer a ringer which is not loud enough and lack of emphasis on speech.
Amplified phones tackle these issues by providing extra amplification for both the ringing volume and the incoming speech. Amplicom BigTel 48 Plus Big Buttons Amplified Desk Phone, for example, is an excellent device that has been a top choice for many of our clients with mild to moderate hearing loss. It is compatible with hearing aids, offers an adjustable receiver and ringer volume and is also very easy to use due to its large display and big buttons.
Home Loop System
Hearing loop systems are often used in public places, but their benefits can also be enjoyed at home. To work, the loop uses the hearing aid's telecoil (T-coil) setting and transforms it into a wireless loudspeaker. The sound output of the different devices, located within the system's specific area, is streamed directly to the hearing aid with no background noise or strong amplification that can irritate other people present. Hearing Direct offers Geemarc LH600 Loop System with 2 microphones, 2 audio inputs and adjustable volume.
Wireless TV Listeners
Quite often hearing loss affects just one family member, which can cause conflicts when the family is watching TV together. TV listeners can be of great help, as they provide the person with hearing loss with the ability to adjust their individual volume and tone settings to high levels, if necessary, while other household members continue to watch at their preferred volume, without being disturbed. Amplicom TV 2500 Wireless TV Listener, for example, covers a range of up to 30m, uses a rechargeable receiver (up to 5 hours of continuous use) and offers an amplification of up to 120dB along with tone and balance controls.
Tinnitus can be a very stressful condition, as the sufferer constantly experiences annoying whistling and other sounds, which can be quite loud. It cannot be treated with medications, but there are certain devices that can offer the user a temporary relief and mask the noise. The Tinnitus Relaxation Therapy Ball provides 7 digitally recorded calming sounds (waves, birds' songs, rain etc.) as well as a 30 minute timer.