Assistive Technology

What are assistive listening devices?

Assistive listening devices are designed to help people with hearing loss hear better in certain situations, for example, when it’s difficult to hear speech in noisy places, or when watching TV. They amplify the sound they want to hear (make it louder) and send it straight to their ears, helping them to hear over background noise.

For non-hearing aid users, it is advisable to send them to have their hearing tested. If they are unable to use hearing aids (older patients with poor cognition and dexterity) personal amplifiers can be helpful. If they have a hearing aid and are continuing to struggle, assistive technology can help - especially in noisy places for example when they are trying to have a conversation or when the sound they want to hear is far away like the TV or at a theatre. The RNID website has more information on assistive technology.

If the person is still in employment, they can obtain assistive devices through the Access to Work government scheme. If they are still in education, they can obtain these devices through the Disabled Students’ Allowances scheme. For older adults who are not in employment, some boroughs may also be able to provide some equipment through their Sensory Services team if available.

The Veterans Hearing Fund funded by the Government and provided by the Royal British Legion, provides support to veterans who suffered hearing loss during service, but their needs cannot be helped through statutory services such as the NHS. The programme may be able to fund hearing aids, peripherals or therapies such as lip reading and tinnitus management therapies.

Communicating with people with hearing loss and deafness

BT provides a free of charge text relay telephone service, where the person with hearing loss receives text translation of what is being said over the phone. Video relay services are available for deaf BSL users where an interpreter will translate what is being said into BSL.