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Hearing Aids vs. Assistive Listening Devices

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between hearing aids and assistive listening devices.

If you have been confused by the difference between a hearing aid and assistive listening device, or ALD, it could be because people have made the mistake of using the terms interchangeably. But there are some key differences between these sound amplifiers. Your audiologist will tell you if you need either a hearing aid or ALD and why. But, the following overview will give you an understanding of their fundamental differences.

Basic Differences

When you look at a hearing aid next to an assistive listening device, you will immediately notice a few differences. Most kinds of hearing aids are a lot smaller and will be usually worn around or behind the ear with a piece inserted into the ear canal. Some types of ALD, however, can involve a few bulkier parts, like a microphone box and headphones or wires. While this might make ALDs sound less convenient than hearing aids, you must also factor in each device’s main purpose. ALDs serve the purpose of solely amplifying sound. Hearing aids can be fine-tuned to accentuate some sounds while lowering other background noises.


Often assistive listening devices are applied to specific situations or added to other devices, including a hearing aid. ALDs aren’t meant to be worn all the time, but on an as-needed basis. Likewise, many people who use ALDs may not need hearing aids. However, hearing aids have a more sensitive and sophisticated system meant for long term use. While ALDs can feel like instantly turning up the volume, hearing aids will adjust and improve a person’s hearing over time. Neither is better, but one of these sound amplifiers may be more appropriate for your situation and needs than the other.

Bay Area Audiology Can Get a Device that Works for You!

Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss?  Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology, and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions.  Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment, with thorough evaluations.  We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.

You can always come into the office, or contact us in advance to set up an appointment.  We also provide updates on our social media websites.  You can check out our Facebook,Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019 at 10:16 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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