What are assistive listening devices?

Assistive listening devices (ALDs) can be used with or without hearing aids to assist people with a hearing impairment with communication. There are many different types of assistive listening devices, some of which are listed below:

  • Personal amplifiers are portable devices that can assist with communication. They include personal microphones and FM systems. Personal amplifiers work to improve the signal to noise ratio so that speech is not overwhelmed by background noise. Users wear headphones or earphones and speech is amplified when people speak into the microphone on the handheld box. These simple devices are easy to use and are particularly helpful for people with dementia or patients in hospital who are too sick to manage hearing aids. Some devices can be purchased from electronic stores
  • Telephone devices include telecoils in hearing aids, volume and tone control for a speaker’s voice on the phone, speaker phones, vibrating or flashing light ringers to make the phone ring more noticeable, and extension ringers.
  • Alarm systems including doorbells, smoke alarms, alarm clocks, pagers and baby monitors using different pitch signals or flashing lights/vibratory signals to alert the hearing impaired person.
  • TV devices include captioning technology or headphone systems for TV. There are systems which can work with the telecoil on your hearing aid, or ones that use infra-red technology for those without hearing aids.
  • TTY Teletypewriters allow text conversations over the telephone voice network. There are facilities for TTY to TTY calls and a relay service for TTY to voice calls.

Where to get ALDs

The contact details below provide information for places to obtain ALDs.

Disability Enquiry Hotline

Telstra have a range of products to make phone use easier; contact the Disability Enquiry Hotline (Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm)
Phone: 1800 068 424 (Voice)
TTY: 133 677
Website: www.telstra.com.au/aboutus/community-environment/community-programs/disability


Offer free appointments to try a large range of useful devices for the hearing impaired and have a range of professional support services for people with hearing loss and tinnitus.
Phone: 1300 302 031 for your nearest centre.
Website: www.hearservice.com.au

Word of Mouth Technology

Specialise in providing a wide range of devices for the hearing impaired.
Address: 6 Sturt Street South, Croydon VIC 3136
Phone/TTY: (03) 9723 0660
Website: www.wom.com.au

Job Access

A government program to assist people wanting to gain access to assistive listening devices and other services required in their workplace.
Phone: 1800 464 800
Website: www.jobaccess.gov.au


A not-for-profit organisation advocating for people with hearing loss.
Address: Suite 1, Level 2, 517 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
Phone: 1300 242 842
Website: www.soundfair.org.au


Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Assistive Listening Devices #67
  • Owner: Audiology
  • Last Reviewed: May 31, 2021
  • Next Review: December 10, 2024