Technological inventions have enabled people who are deaf or hard of hearing to function with greater independence. Different technology is used for varying degrees of hearing loss. In large group settings, assistive listening devices carry sound directly to the ear of a person who is hard of hearing. Sometimes, they are used along with a person’s hearing aid. Clear amplified sound without background noise can help a person who is hard of hearing understand speech.
Deaf people are often not helped by “listening” devices. Devices that are more useful to deaf people change auditory information to visual information. Flashing lights or vibrators can be used for alarms, doorbells or telephone ringers. Text telephones and captioning for television programs provide typed-out messages instead of sound.
Below are some descriptions of equipment and technology used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.