An assistive listening device (ALD) is any type of device that can help individuals with hearing impairment to function better in day-to-day communication situations. To be more specific, these devices are made to alert people of sounds in their environments, without relying solely on hearing. For example, if a doorbell signal is not loud enough, having this auditory signal converted into a flashing light can alert someone of a visitor.
There are generally three ways to make an auditory stimulus understandable to someone with hearing loss: make it louder, convert it to a visual signal or convert it to a tactile prompt (something that moves or vibrates). There are many different alerting auditory signals in our environment. For example, there are alarm clocks, telephones, doorbells, babies crying and fire alarms. If you are unable to hear these signals and sounds, there are devices you can use to assist with their notification. An alarm clock signal can be connected to a lamp flashing with an under the pillow vibrator to wake someone up in the morning. Another use would be a transmitter plugged in next to a baby’s crib with multiple receivers plugged in around the house to notify a parent when the baby is crying. Being able to get up on time, knowing when the phone is ringing or knowing that someone is at the door can have a serious impact on well-being and safety in the home. Alerting ALD’s enhance the ability to hear environmental sounds that are very important in our daily lives. These devices provide individuals with hearing impairment or deafness a sense of comfort and safety within their homes.