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Devices for hearing loss


If you are living with hearing loss, you know that it takes extra effort to communicate with others.

There are many different devices that can improve your ability to communicate. This can help reduce stress for you and those around you. These devices can improve your life in numerous ways.

  • You can avoid becoming socially isolated.
  • You can remain more independent.
  • You can be safer wherever you are.

Alerting Devices

Alerting devices help make you aware of sounds, such as the doorbell or a ringing phone. They can also alert you to things happening nearby, such as a fire, someone entering your home, or your baby's activity. These devices send you a signal that you can recognize. The signal may be a flashing light, a horn, or a vibration.

Assistive Listening Devices

Many sounds, mixing together in a room, can make it harder for you to pick up the sounds you want to hear. Assistive listening devices bring certain sounds directly to your ears. This can improve your hearing in one-on-one conversations or in classrooms or theaters.

Some devices work by placing a remote microphone next to the talker. They can be used in a small room or on a stage. Other devices can bring the sound from your TV, radio, or music player directly to your inner ear.

Many listening devices now work through a wireless link and can connect directly to your hearing aid.

There is also television closed-captioning, which shows the words that are being spoken along the bottom of your TV screen.

Devices for the Telephone

There are many tools that can help you listen and talk on the telephone. Devices called amplifiers make sound louder. Some phones have amplifiers built-in. You can also attach an amplifier to your phone. Some can be carried with you so you can use them with any phone.

Some amplifiers are held next to the ear. Many hearing aids work with these devices, but may require special settings.

Other devices make it easier to use your hearing aid with a digital phone line. This helps prevent some distortion.

Telecommunication relay services (TRS) allow people with severe hearing loss to place calls to standard telephones. Text telephones, called TTYs or TTDs, allow the typing of messages through a phone line rather than using voice. If the person on the other end can hear, the typed message is relayed as a voice message.


Dugan MB. Living with Hearing Loss. Gallaudet University Press, Washington, DC. March 2003.

Stach BA, Ramachandran V. Hearing aid amplification. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 162.

Review Date: 4/20/2015
Reviewed By: Sumana Jothi MD, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, airway, voice, and swallowing disorders, clinical instructor UCSF Otolaryngology, NCHCS VA, SFVA, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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