Beyond the Hearing Aid

Hearing aids may not solve all of your communication problems. You may still have difficulty hearing the television, your alarm clock, a knock on the door, callers on the telephone, events in an auditorium, or communication in an extremely noisy situation. Assistive devices can be useful in these circumstances.

Are there different types of assistive devices for the hearing impaired?

There are two main types of devices: assistive listening devices and alerting devices. Assistive listening devices help with listening. Alerting devices signal the presence of a sound.

Assistive listening devices

There are several types of assistive listening devices designed for different types of situations. Here are a few:

Hearing in background noise
Hearing the television
Hearing the telephone

Alerting devices

Hearing is not only used for communication, it allows you to stay in touch with your environment. Alerting devices can inform you of a number of important warning signals, such as the sounds of the doorbell, telephone, smoke and fire alarms, or an alarm clock. The ability to recognize these signals is important not only for your safety and independence, but for the safety of others around you. Here are a few different types of alerting devices:

Where can I find these devices?

The Hearing Assistance Technology Center, located within the Head and Neck Institute Section of Audiology (Desk A71), provides a place where you and your family and friends can view, sample, and purchase a variety of assistive devices. The center is an interactive, "homelike" setting where you, along with an audiologist, can experiment with different devices to find the one that works best for you.

Call 216.444.6691 to arrange an appointment to view and try out the devices that may assist you in obtaining better hearing in all situations.


This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit or This document was last reviewed on: 10/10/2012