Assistive products for the hearing impaired are devices that help hearing impaired individuals to either increase their ability to hear sounds, or to become aware of objects that normally only make noise. The hearing impaired, who preferred to be called deaf or hard of hearing, have benefited from research and technological advances that assist in blocking out background noises, increasing the volume of sounds, or through the transcription of the spoken word. Usually, these products for the hearing impaired as used in addition to a hearing aid.
A personal frequency modulation (FM) device is used to amplify a chosen person’s voice through the transmission of sound from a microphone to a receiver, which then transmits the sound to a person’s hearing aid. There are small and large area FM systems that provide the option of transmitting sounds from different speakers to the same listening device. Individuals can manually change the frequency of the device to listen to sounds coming from different microphones, and they have the ability to change the volume by adjusting their hearing aid volume. An induction loop system also transmits sound from a microphone, but it uses an electromagnetic field to transmit noise to the T-coil receiver already contained within a hearing aid.
Sound amplifiers are products for the hearing impaired that help to increase the volume on many electronic devices including televisions, telephones, laptops, MP3 players, radios, and other devices with a headphone jack. There are also headphones that filter out harmful background noises and decrease the volume of noises, preventing further damage and strain. Some headphones affect the quality of sounds and clarity of speech, which allow a person with hearing loss to more clearly understand the sounds without increasing the volume.
There are also devices that allow a person to read a transcription of what is being said. Voice carry over (VCO) phones provide a transcription of the conversation. They also have a light that flashes when the phone is ringing.
Silent house alerting systems are products for the hearing impaired that will flash a light or vibrate an object to alert the person of various sounds, such as the telephone or doorbell ringing. They can also be used to alert a deaf person of a smoke alarm going off, or of a weather alert. Alarm clocks and baby monitors have also been redesigned to vibrate or flash lights in order to gain the attention of a person who is hard of hearing.