There are two types of hearing impairment. Physical hearing impairment is when you have difficulty hearing in normal conditions while environment hearing impairment refers to the challenge to hear because of environmental conditions.
Physical Hearing Impairment
One in every ten persons is hearing impaired*. That means in the USA, 36 million people have some form of hearing loss. It is interesting to note that only 22% of people who have hearing loss have a hearing aid. That means that 28 million Americans or about 8% of the population have a hearing loss and have no active method to improve their hearing function. These numbers can be extrapolated for other regions in the world. In addition, one has to wonder how many people with hearing aids actually use them.
Environmental Hearing Impairment
Have you ever go to a play, concert or event and had difficulty hearing what is being said? Have you ever been on a tour and cant hear what the tour group leader is saying? These are examples of how environmental conditions can impair your ability to hear. This can be caused by noise, reverberation, lack of sound system and/or distance from the sound source.
An assistive listening system (ALS) is designed to improve your hearing in these kinds of conditions. The concept is that the sound source is transmitted wirelessly to a receiver and then to your ear through an earphone. These systems are used in many types of venues including places of worship, theaters, stadiums, courtrooms, schools, meeting rooms, tour groups, etc.
The interesting thing about assistive listening systems is that they overcome both physical and environmental hearing impairment. And they usually work with hearing aids too.
So how do you get hooked up with these assistive listening systems? Its really rather simple, just ask for one. Many, many places have them. And in many countries most public facilities are required to have them by law. There is no cost to use one but many facilities required a drivers license or credit to ensure you return the unit. We did a previous blog on this process.
Check it out.
*According to the Hearing Loss Association of America www.hearingloss.org/learn/factsheets.asp