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Monday, October 27, 2008

My Assistive Listening Device

This is my assistive listening device, a Pockettalker Pro by Williams Sound. If you are new to hearing loss, you may wonder why a hearing aid wearer would want an assistive listening device (ALD). Aren't hearing aids alone enough? Well, yes and no. I bought my ALD to help me out at the reference desk. I still struggle with people who whisper or speak in low tones. The Pockettalker works with my hearing aids and boosts sound with its own microphone. What I like best is that it has a dial on it so I can adjust the volume up and down, something I'm unable to do with my hearing aids. This model has a clip so I can attach it to my clothing when I need to walk from the reference desk to a computer terminal to help a library patron. You'll also notice that I bought mine with a neckloop which I can hide discreetly under my clothing.
Last month I brought my Pockettalker along when I went to a library training meeting at a hotel conference room. I was glad I did when the group of people I went with decided to sit in the middle of the room rather than the front which would have been my first choice. The ALD worked well with the sound system in the room and I had no trouble hearing the speakers. Unfortunately, whenever someone at the table opened the top on a soft drink bottle I also heard that noise too at a startlingly loud volume. Well, nothing's perfect, right?
Those are the only uses I've found for my Pockettalker. For me it hasn't been helpful at movie theatres or at home watching TV. I'm planning to take it to Florida with me as a backup in case the accomodations I requested don't work out.
Do you have an assistive listening device that works well for you?


Jonathan said...

I have a Smartlink FM system, made by Phonak. It's pretty good.

Like your PocketPro, I can use it to pick up what is being said in the room by holding it in my hand.

I can also zoom in the field of voices that it is picking up so that I would only hear a few people or just one person and the background noises would be somewhat minimized.

I can connect it to a computer, a music player, a tv with a patch cord.

I can also connect it to a cell phone that has bluetooth as the FM system has bluetooth.

Deb Ann said...

It's new to me. It's interesting to learn a new thing. I'll ask my dad ,because he used to be hearing and now he's hard of hearing. He just got a new pair of digital hearing aids.

You look great in the photos!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Jonathan,
That sounds like a great system. Thanks for sharing your information!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi DebAnn,
I'd be interested in learning what your dad thinks of his new hearing aids! Thanks for the compliment. I'm blushing.

Ms_Info said...

Wow! This is exactly what I need for exactly the same reasons. Thanks for the info - my only question is, can it be used with BTE aids? I wear the ReSound Dot and between the Dots and my glasses there is already too much plastic behind my ears.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Ms_Info,
Yes. I wear BTE aids so it's great to have the neckloop. Your name is intriguing. Do you work in a library?

Ms_info said...


Yes, I am a librarian and we have e-mailed before (clue = my husband bowls). So, with the neckloop does that mean you just wear it around your neck and it amplifies though your aids without being connected somehow? Thanks!


Kim said...

Helloooo-- I'm way behind on my blog reading. I have a pocket talker, but it's an older model of the Williams Sound that you're hold. It's black and about five years old. Like you, I use it at work. Sometimes the sound quality is too electrical, but it helps in many situations. I might get a new one when I get my new aids.

kim said...

Also-- Do you find some of your patrons are weirded out by speaking into the microphone? Some of mine have been. I try to be very matter-of-fact about it, as I think most people feel more comfortable when I don't act like it's a big deal.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Ms.Info! Thanks for the clue, now I know. To answer your question, yes, with the neckloop there's no direct connection into your hearing aids. So cool. As you know I wear eyeglasses and the real estate on my ears is crowded.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Kim,
Good to hear from you. I haven't asked any of my patrons to speak directly into the microphone so far. I've had some people give me a look when they see it attached to my clothes but they haven't asked me about it so far. What's really weird for me is when I'm wearing it and I walk too close to the circulation area security gates. BZZZZ. No one else can hear what's bugging me.

Anonymous said...

I used to have this but did not stick with it long, as I did not find it helpful much. I found it got in the way for me too. What I find that's brilliant to use for me, is a Converser, which is much smaller than that. The receiver goes round your neck which you hear through the loop on your hearing aids, the other part (microphone) you can either hold in direction of speaker, or in case of a confrence for example, you can put the microphone at the speakers table. You control the volume on your receiver to adjust hearing it at a level for you. Expensive, but worth it!

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi l1zblog,
Thanks for telling us about the Conversor. Here's the link if anyone wants to find out more about a