Skip Navigation
AT Info - Assistive Listening Devices - Fact Sheet

Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative

. . . bringing technology to you

DATI Assistive Technology Facts:
Assistive Listening Devices

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
- Ernest Hemingway

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology, or AT, is any tool that allows individuals with disabilities to use their own unique abilities to reach their goals. AT can range from low-cost tools such as a jar opener to more complex devices such as a power wheelchair or communication aid.

Infants, children, adults, and older persons with any type of disability can be aided by the use of AT.

What is an assistive listening device?

This assistive technology category includes equipment that makes auditory information accessible to those with hearing loss, either by amplifying the sound or converting it into visual or tactile information. There are four main categories of assistive listening devices: alerting, listening, telecommunications, and closed captioning.

Who is affected by hearing loss and deafness?

Nationally, about 28 million people have some sort of hearing loss. Individuals who are hard of hearing or deaf come from all cultures and age groups. Hearing loss is among the most common disabilities in the United States.

What types of devices are available for those with hearing loss?

Where can I purchase assistive listening devices?

Telecommunication and alerting devices, along with closed captioning decoders, can be purchased without a doctor's prescription. The phone company, local electronics stores, and online vendors all sell these types of devices.

The first step in selection of a hearing aid or other listening device is evaluation by a doctor or audiologist. This is essential because people vary in the nature of their hearing losses, and a device perfect for one person would be useless for another. Once the appropriate product has been identified, it can be purchased through an audiologist or a hearing aid specialist. After being fitted for the device, several adjustment appointments and training session may be required to maximize the user’s benefit from the device.

What are some things I should consider before purchasing
an assistive listening device?

An FM system transmitter, microphone, and carrying case.

Listen Personal FM System is a good small area solution where added listening capability is needed. The transmitter with microphone can be worn or set up on a podium. The receiver and earphone are worn by the listener up to 150 feet away.

A telephone with large numbers on the buttons and a display screen at the top of the phone’s base.

The Ameriphone VCO Telephone is an amplified, hearing aid compatible phone that allows you to make VCO calls through a TTY relay service.

A telephone signaler and telephone wire.

Sonic Alert’s DS 800 Doorbell/Telephone/ Intercom Signaler flashes a light that is plugged into its outlet and also sends signals to other remote receivers when the doorbell or phone rings.

Learn More: AT Fact Sheets

Adapted Toys


Aids for Low Vision


Aids for Daily Living

Assistive listening devices


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)


Computer Access


Seating, Position and Mobility


Switches and Environmental Control Units


Get Adobe Reader
Download PDF Viewer

Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative
Center for Applied Science & Engineering
University of Delaware/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
PO Box 269, 1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19899-0269
1(800) 870-DATI or (302) 651-6790
TDD: (302) 651-6794
FAX: (302) 651-6793