Many hearing aids have optional features that can be built in to assist in different communication situations. Some options are:
- Directional microphone. Some hearing aids have a switch to activate a directional microphone that responds to sound coming from a specific direction, as occurs in a face-to-face conversation. You can switch from the normal non-directional (omnidirectional) setting, which picks up sound almost equally from any direction, to focus on a sound coming from in front of you. When the directional microphone is activated, sound coming from behind you is reduced.
- Telephone switch. Some hearing aids are made with an induction coil inside. You can switch from the normal microphone "on" setting to a "T" setting in order to hear better on the telephone. (You should know that all wired telephones produced today must be hearing aid compatible). In the "T" setting, environment sounds are eliminated, and you only pick up sound from the telephone. Furthermore, you can talk without your hearing aid "whisting" because the microphone of the hearing aid is turned off!
The "T" setting can also be used in theaters, auditoriums, houses of worship, etc., that have induction loop or FM installations. The sound of the talker, who can be a distance away, is amplified significantly more than any backgroundnoises. Some hearing aids have a combination "M" (Microphone) / "T" (Telephone) switch so that, while listening with an induction loop, you can still hear nearby conversation.
- Direct audio input. Some hearing aids have a direct-audio input capability that allows you to plug in a remote microphone or an FM assistive listening system, connect directly to a TV, or connect with other devices such as your computer, a CD player, tape player, radio, etc.