Assistive devices

Learn about the different assistive listening devices and how they could improve your hearing on the telephone, watching television, listening to music, or in a classroom lecture.

Assistive listening devices (ALDS), also known as assistive listening systems, are designed to improve your hearing in specific situations―such as on the telephone, listening to the television or radio, or in a lecture or classroom setting. They can be used alone or to boost the benefits of your existing hearing technology. ALDs can help improve your speech understanding and enhance your confidence and enjoyment in the following scenarios:

Watching television

Infrared systems use infrared light waves to transmit from your television to your personal receiver. This means the television can be set to a volume that is comfortable for your friends and family, while you can adjust the volume on your receiver to the level that is right for you. Infrared systems can also be used in larger settings, such as the cinema.

Classroom lectures

Personal FM systems bypass the problems of background noise, distance and poor acoustics by sending sound directly to you. Each system consists of a transmitter microphone used by the speaker and a receiver worn by you. The transmitter sends sound across a special FM frequency to the receiver, which then transmits the sound either to your hearing device or to a headset. You can adjust the volume on your personal FM system according to your needs.

Personal FM systems can also be used in corporate meeting venues, theatres, nursing homes, places of worship, museums, and other public and private gathering places.

Listening to a public address

Induction loop systems create an electromagnetic field around the perimeter of a room, so that sound projected through the speakers is available wirelessly. You can tune into the audio signal simply by activating the T-coil setting on your hearing device. You can then make personal adjustments for sound quality.

Induction loop systems systems are most common in public areas such as theatres, museums, libraries and places of worship, but can also be bought for individual use.

One-to-one communication

Personal listening systems are used to enhance the quality of private conversations or in a lecture situation, to help you understand questions from people in the audience. The person speaks into a microphone and the sound is amplified and delivered directly into your listening device or headset.

Telephone conversations

Some ALDs can be attached to telephones to make sounds from the speaker louder, mute feedback and background noise, and improve speech clarity. These can be connected to your hearing device directly or wirelessly using T-coil technology. You can also buy amplified telephones with different frequency responses.

Listening to music

There are other ALDs that connect music players and even sounds in specially-equipped theatres directly to your hearing device.

Other devices

There are many other assistive listening devices on the market, including amplified answering machines, paging systems, vibrating alarms and loud door bells.

Find a hearing health specialist in your area to learn more about the different assistive listening devices and how they could help you.


The information on this website is for educational purposes, and is not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult a hearing healthcare professional to diagnose or treat a hearing or health problem.

Find a hearing health specialist

Hearing health specialists can talk to you about your treatment options, and discuss any further steps for preventing or limiting hearing loss.

Find a specialist