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4 seniors: Helping those with hearing loss without getting a hearing aid

OKLAHOMA CITY – It is pretty common to experience hearing impairment as you get older.

If you’re not ready for a hearing aid, there are dozens of ‘assistive listening devices’ on the market that can make a big difference.

Assistive listening devices can be found over-the-counter that can amplify and improve sound to help you in different listening situations. These products are best suited for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment, and they usually are not covered by insurance or Medicare.

Personal amplifiers: To help in noisy environments, there are personal sound amplification products that can be worn in the ear like a hearing aid. They reduce background noise while amplifying sound nearby. Two top rated products to consider are the SoundWorld Solutions CS50+ and the Etymotic Bean.

The CS50+ costs $350 and looks like a Bluetooth cell phone headset. It has customizable settings that can be programmed with a smartphone.

The Etymotic Bean costs $399 a pair or $214 for one and is ready to use right out of the box for those with high-frequency hearing loss.

There are also a number of small hand-held or body-worn amplifiers like the Williams Sound Pocketalker ($139) and Bellman & Symfon Mino Personal Amplifier ($188) that have a microphone and headphones or earbuds that are effective.

TV amplifiers: There are TV listening devices that will let you increase the volume and adjust the tone to meet your needs without blasting other family members out of the room. Some of the best options are wireless infrared, radio frequency or Bluetooth devices that come with headphones. Sennheiser makes a variety of products ranging in price from $130 to $450.

For more affordable solutions, consider the Serene Innovations TV Sound Box for $120, which is a wireless speaker that sits near you to provide audio without headphones.

Amplified telephones: To have clearer phone conversations, there are a wide variety of amplified telephones that offer enhanced volume and tone adjustments. Some top makers are Clarity, ClearSounds and Serene Innovations, and a top seller today is the Clarity XLC2+ Amplified Phone ($144), which is a cordless phone that provides three tone settings and 50 decibels of amplification.

Alerting devices: There are a variety of alerting devices that can help people who have trouble hearing the doorbell, phone, alarm clock, smoke detector or even weather radio. These products use flashing lights, multi-tone ringers or vibrating devices as a means to alert you.

Some popular products include The Bellman &Symfon Care Home Alerting Solution that provides door and phone notification with a flashing alert for $198. The Silent Call Weather Alert Radio with strobe and bed shaker is $165 and the Serene Innovations CentralAlert CA-360 Clock/Receiver Notification System that is an all-in-one system is $180.

Harris Communications can help with locating any other hearing loss products.