Abstract Age-related hearing loss can impact adversely on the delivery of primary care and cannot necessarily be remedied by hearing aid technology. A study of 20 older Australians living in a Queensland retirement village and residential hostel complex was undertaken to investigate how communication might be advanced through an assistive listening device (ALD). Most participants were women aged over 85 years; almost all had hearing loss and wore hearing aids. Tests with an ALD found very high levels of satisfaction with understanding speech and sound quality amongst participants. However, few had heard previously of ALDs, all required individualised assistance to fit and use the device and rated ease of use less highly. The findings affirm those of previous studies that ALD technology has a role in communication for older hearing-impaired people and for hearing rehabilitation. Its potential to enhance quality of life can be facilitated and promoted through nursing practice, but requires professional and consumer education so that it is not overlooked as a communication option.