Common types of hearing devices include phones, hearing aids and specialized digital technology. The selection of hearing impaired phones has grown recently to include cell phones, text telephones, and amplified phones. Prices have come down, and hearing impaired landlines start at $15 US Dollars (USD), while hearing impaired cell phones start around $100 USD. Hearing impaired phones can be purchased for business or personal use. These types of hearing devices come in cordless varieties, and headsets can be attached to allow for a hearing aid connection and hands-free talk.
Another type of hearing device is a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD). This electronic device is used for text communication via a telephone line. Text is printed on a small spool of paper, which is transmitted live via a telephone line to a compatible device. A TDD is usually the size of a small laptop with a keyboard and LCD screen.
Digital hearing aids are newer versions of hearing devices. The major advantage of this type of hearing aid is that it can adapt to different environments depending on the sound quality in the immediate environment. Digital hearing devices take advantage of new digital technology. A microcomputer inside the digital hearing aid allows for programming, tuning and adjusting to different sound environments. These hearing devices take the sound, convert it to bits and make necessary changes before amplifying the signal.
Cellular phones are being used in hearing aid technology. With a device called Mambo, a hearing impaired person can listen to sounds from any distance through the use of a mobile phone, which also acts as a remote control to turn the device on or off, change the settings and locate the position of the device. It can be located to within two yards (1.83 meters), and the location is displayed on the phone’s screen. Mambo is an electronically invisible device that can function anywhere in the world. It is no more complicated to use than a cell phone, and it can be rented or bought for a reasonable price.
An embedded microphone system called the SIM Audio Surveillance GS-101 is another type of hearing device. It uses four microphones and a SIM card that inserts into a slot. There is no software or configuration required with this audio surveillance device. The user can hide it and listen to the sound from anywhere. It runs on a non-stop power supply and has been applied in European countries but has not yet been tested in the U.S.