What is a Hearing Loop?
A hearing loop is a system that enables an audio signal to be wirelessly transmitted directly to a hearing aid or cochlear implant, minimizing the effects of background noise and room acoustics. It enables people with hearing loss to hear more clearly in noisy situations where sound clarity can be lacking. Even the most sophisticated hearing aid is limited to the sounds it hears without a t coil.
Where are Hearing Loops Used?
Sometimes known as induction loops, telecoil loops or loop systems, Hearing loops are based upon established technology and are widely used throughout Europe in places such as schools and colleges, places of worship, movie theaters, and concert halls, as well as on public transport and in banks, shops, information points, and hospitals. There are domestic loops for use in the home that pick up sound from a television, radio or hi-fi , and just about any other audio source.. Although the U.S. has been slower to capitalize on the advantages hearing loops afford over other assertive listening systems, loops are now starting to gain widespread acceptance thanks to advocates such as www.hearingloop.org and recent revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act
How do Hearing Loops Work?
The system itself consists of a loop of wire placed around a designated area – usually around the perimeter of the room or threaded thorough larger venues to capture the entire area such as an auditorium or church. The wire is then connected to a loop amplifier that is connected to the audio signal. The loop amplifier varies the current flowing around the loop in proportion to the audio signal. The hearing loop generates a fluctuating magnetic field within the loop that can be received and converted back into sound by a hearing aid or cochlear implant equipped with a magnetic pickup coil, known as a telecoil. Depending on the situation the audio signal can be anything from live speech picked up using a microphone, to music, pre-recorded announcements, and movie or television soundtracks.
Which Hearing Ads will Work with a Hearing Loop?
Most hearing aids are currently supplied with a telecoil as standard, but are not always set up to work with a hearing loop. Once the hearing aid has been programmed by an audiologist to include a telecoil mode or T program, it is usually a simple matter of pressing a button to switch between the hearing aids built-in microphone (M) and the telecoil (T). Some hearing aids also offer a combination MT mode to enable the user to hear signals from the telecoil and microphone simultaneously.