There are things you can do to make speech and conversations more clear.
- making use of technology such as hearing loops if you use hearing aids
- using other assistive devices to make conversations clearer.
Hearing loops, FM systems and infrared technology
If you use hearing aids, you may be able to use the following technology to help make speech and conversations clearer.
If you use hearing aids, a hearing loop can help you pick up speech sounds more clearly, especially if you are further away. It focuses your hearing aid to pick up sound from the loop system microphone, rather than all noises in the area. This helps to cut out background noise.
To use a hearing loop, you need to have your hearing aid switched on to the hearing loop setting. Your audiologist may need to do this for you. Find out more about how to use your hearing aids here.
Hearing loops are available:
- In various public places. You’ll know if there is a hearing loop if you see the ‘T’ sign displayed. You may need to check with staff that it is switched on.
- With your landline phone.
- With your mobile or smartphone.
- For your home, if you want to use them with your TV or radio.
An FM system is another system used to help people hear speech more clearly. It uses radio waves to transmit sounds from a transmitter to several people at the same time. It’s normally used in schools, group tours, conferences and lectures.
Several manufacturers make FM systems, but they can be used with any hearing aid. You need to use a compatible receiver that is usually attached to the bottom of your hearing aids. Your audiologist may need to link your hearing aids to it. They can also advise which receiver is required.
Infrared technology is similar to an FM system. It is sometimes used in theatres or lecture halls. It transmits sound from to several people at the same time. You will need:
- A special receiver to pick up the sound in your hearing aids. This is normally available at a customer service desk or by asking a member of staff.
- A device to connect the receiver to your hearing aids, such as a neck loop or ear hook. Find out more about ways to connect your hearing aid to other devices here.
Devices to make conversations clearer
There are also assistive devices available that you can use to help make speech and conversation more clear.
Assistive listening devices
These are small, portable devices that pick up speech and make it louder. It can be useful if you are in a noisy place or find it hard to hear someone at a distance. Most listening devices also have tone settings that can help make ‘S’, ‘T’ and ‘F’ speech sounds clearer.
Prices for these assistive listening devices are between £80 to £600 for more advanced models that can pick up sound over a greater distance.
If you use hearing aids, you can connect listeners directly to them using other devices. They include:
- A neck loop, a cable that you wear around your neck.
- Ear hooks, a small device attached to a cable that hooks over the ear next to the hearing aid.
- Bluetooth streamers. If the device has Bluetooth, it can channel the audio straight into your hearing aids.
You need to have your hearing aid switched on to the hearing loop setting for this to work. Your audiologist may need to do this for you.
Prices for these assistive devices range from £15 to £50 for more advanced types. You can find these at our new online shop, in partnership with Connevans, one of the leading suppliers of assistive technology.
You may also be able to get help paying for technology.
Speech to text apps software
Speech to text software allows you to read a transcription of everything that is said in a conversation. It can be helpful for group meetings or work situations. It is now widely available in apps for smartphones and tablets.
There are free and paid apps available for Apple, Android and other smartphone models. Paid apps can cost up to £300. You can buy and download these from your smartphone app store.