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Making conversations clearer

There are technologies you can use to make speech and conversations clearer.

These include:

  • technology that connects your hearing aids directly to the sound you’re listening to
  • using assistive listening devices to make conversations clearer. 

Connect your hearing aids directly to the sound

If you use hearing aids, you may be able to use the following technology to help make speech and conversations clearer. These work by connecting your hearing aids directly to the sound you want to hear. For example, in the theatre, cinema or other public venues. This cuts out background noise, making the sound clearer and easier to hear.

Hearing loops

Hearing loops are used in many public places, including some theatres, shops and reception desks. 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 other noises around you. 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 enable this feature on your hearing aids and show you how to use it. Find out more about how to use your hearing aids.

Hearing loops are available: 

FM systems

An FM system is another system used to help people hear speech more clearly. It uses radio waves to transmit sounds from a microphone 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

Infrared technology is similar to an FM system. It is sometimes used in theatres or lecture halls. It transmits sound from a microphone to several people at the same time. You will need:

  • A special receiver to pick up the sound with 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 inductive ear hook.

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Devices to make conversations clearer

There are also assistive devices available that you can use to help make speech and conversation more clear.

Personal 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.

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.

Ways to connect it to your hearing aids 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.

If you are connecting your hearing aids to the personal listener using an induction loop, you need to have your hearing aid switched on to the hearing loop setting for this to work. Your audiologist may need to enable the loop programme on your hearing aids.

Our partner, Connevans, is a leading supplier of specialist products and assistive technology.

They can help you find out about the different supportive devices that might help.

When you shop online at our dedicated website with Connevans, 10% of each purchase is donated to us.

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.

Get support with assistive devices online

Find out about the different types of products you might benefit from if you have hearing loss – from smoke alarm systems to devices to help you enjoy entertainment.
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Get local support with products

We can help you get the products and equipment you need to manage your hearing loss or tinnitus effectively.
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Page last updated: 21 March 2024

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