Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Personal Hearing Devices

Devices to help you hear

What does it do?

Wearable electronic devices that amplify sounds for anyone that has difficulty hearing.

What kinds of personal hearing devices are there?

Personal Amplification Systems

These devices can be handheld, worn on a belt loop, or placed on a desk. The built-in microphone amplifies sounds closest to the listener while reducing background noise. You can listen through headphones or can connect your compatible hearing aids. Examples of personal amplification systems include the PocketTalker from Williams Sound and the SuperEar from SonicTechnology. These devices are ideal for one-on-one conversation, small-group and television listening, or conversing in the car.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids come in many styles, such as in-ear, behind the ear, and in the canal. They each fit differently in your ear and one may be better than another for your particular type of hearing loss. All hearing aids use the same basic parts to carry sounds from the environment into your ear and make them louder. Most hearing aids are digital. They are powered with either a replaceable or rechargeable battery.

Hearing aids are prescribed by a doctor. Your family doctor can check for correctable causes of hearing loss, such as earwax or an infection. Then they will refer you to a hearing specialist (audiologist). An audiologist will assess your hearing, help you choose the most appropriate hearing aid, and adjust the device to meet your needs. Ask if you can have a trial to get used to the device and decide if it’s right for you.

In-Ear Amplifiers

New personal amplification options are becoming available. Some of them are marketed as “digital hearing aid alternatives.” Companies that make these products include Tweak and SoundWorld Solutions. Their devices look like hearing aids, but are not customized to fit you. Talk to your audiologist about whether this would meet your needs.

How do I see what's new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:

personal amplification device, tool for hearing loss, amplify sound, help hearing conversations

How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania you would need to find your state's AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out. Do we have this in our lending library?


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Stacy Phillips

Stacy Phillips is the Project Coordinator of Assistive Technology Programs for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Her responsibilities include coordinating assessments for adults with intellectual disabilities who are deaf under the "Harry M" waiver, Outreach Coordination for the National DeafBlind Equipment Distribution Program known as iCanConnectPA, and conducting assistive technology device demonstrations for individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Stacy is also the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania DeafBlind Advisory Committee.

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