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Assistive listening devices are a useful supplement to many wearing hearing aids and / or cochlear implants. The most well known “wireless” assistive listening device is the FM (frequency Modulated) system. An FM system consists of a microphone, a receiver and a transmitter. The microphone is used by a speaker or teacher (when an FM system is used in the classroom) and is positioned very close to the speaker’s mouth.This signal is then transmitted to the hearing impaired person via radio waves to a receiver either worn on the body or connected directly to the hearing aid/cochlear implant. This analogue wireless transmission of a signal is fairly robust and the Australian Government has put aside an FM frequency for low power assistive listening systems to minimise interference from other radio users. FM systems help a hearing impaired person overcome:1. Distance effects2. Listening to speech in the presence of background noise, and3. Listening challenges in reverberant (echoey) listening environments. Most hearing impaired people would benefit from an FM system in some specific listening situations. FM systems are used for nearly all hearing impaired children here in Australia and Australian Hearing funds these devices. FM systems are compatible with nearly all hearing aid systems and all cochlear implant systems.Blue-tooth is a digital wireless solution which allows for direct communication between hearing aids and external devices that are blue-tooth compatible ie. Phones, TV’s, MP3 players and also from one hearing aid to another. Blue-tooth allows communication between different devices without the need for cords and wires through the use of short wavelength radio signals. This communication between aids could potentially result in better hearing outcomes and allows users to change volume and programme settings simultaneously in both right and left worn hearing aids. While many hearing aid systems can give users connectivity to blue tooth enabled devices, no cochlear implant or middle ear implant system has blue-tooth compatibility.

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