Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers!
Today’s digital hearing aids effectively enhance hearing in conversational settings. Yet, for many people with hearing loss, the sound becomes inaudible and unclear when live speakers or recorded broadcasts are at a distance, there is room noise, and when room acoustics cause reverberation of sound. A hearing loop electromagnetically transfers sound signals directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants equipped with a telecoil (t-coil) receiver. This loop is like “binoculars for the ears”
Of the 452 models of hearing aids listed from all major manufacturers, the 2014 edition of Consumer’s Guide to Hearing Aids, 323 (71.5 percent) were noted as having telecoils. If the 51 completely-in-the-canal aids are not included, the percentage increases to 80.5 percent. In a recent survey, 84 percent of HLAA members reported having t-coils in their hearing aids. All new cochlear implant models now have t-coils.) The Guide can be found at hearingloss.org.
Yes, like other forms of assistive listening systems, hearing loops come with portable receivers and headsets for those who do not have telecoil-equipped hearing aids.
Costs range from $100-$300 for self-installed home TV hearing loops up to several thousand dollars for professional installation in an auditorium or worship space. Cost considerations must factor in the size of the space and building design of designated venue to be looped. There is no cost to the user with telecoil-equipped hearing aids.
There are two concepts to consider: 1) Magnetic interference caused by the room loop itself; 2) Stray electromagnetic interference (EMI) in the room caused by other sources that can interfere with the use of telecoils worn by the listeners.
Hearing loops emit a magnetic field which can create potential for interference with electronic equipment. However, if the loop is installed correctly (meeting international standards (IEC 60118-4)) this will be avoided. Stray EMI is caused by old (non-flat) computer monitors, old fluorescent lighting, old dimmer switches, transformers, and motors. This EMI has the potential to adversely affect the ability of the telecoil receiver to receive a good signal from the loop. It can cause distortion that will be heard when the telecoil is active. (This can also happen using a telecoil with a hearing-aid compatible phone.) Interference-free installation is nearly always possible if done correctly and adhering to standards.
New wireless technologies, including Bluetooth®, do some helpful things such as enable binaural phone listening, wireless reception of home media (TV, tablets, MP3, etc.). It can also be used with wireless microphones to hear one or more companions at home, in the workplace, and while traveling. It is very portable. However, it is expensive, is limited to a 30 foot range, and will not allow you to couple (connect) to a large area listening system such as a loop, FM or IR system. For that you need a telecoil inside the hearing aid or cochlear implant. This circuit does not add any cost to the hearing aid or cochlear implant and provides an easy and discrete way to hear via a loop system. The user simply activates the telecoil on the hearing aid or cochlear implant and walks into the looped room and begins to hear
Yes, with professional design that controls sound spillover.
A hearing aid or cochlear implant compatible loop system delivers sound that is customized to individual listener needs. Listeners with properly activated and programmed (by the audiologist) features in their hearing aid or cochlear implant will enjoy two ways of listening with the loop: Telecoil (T) only position or Microphone plus Telecoil (M+T). Telecoil only is desired when the listener wants to hear only what is coming through the loop and not the outside world. M+T becomes important when the listener wants to hear his or her companions or other important sounds such as a doorbell or a phone ringing. It also allows the listener to hear and monitor his or her own voice. This is especially important for people with more severe hearing loss. The main advantage to using a hearing loop system is that all the listener needs to do is activate the telecoil. There is no extra equipment required.
The New York City Transit Authority, for example, has installed hearing loops at 488 subway information booths. Again, all the listener needs to do is switch the hearing aid or cochlear implant to the telecoil mode. The hearing loop logo that displays the blue ear symbol along with the wording “Hearing Loop in Operation” should be posted and in clear sight for the listener to be alerted that the booth is equipped to be used with instrument telecoils.
Like any technology, systems require periodic checking. If properly installed and checked, hearing loops require little or no maintenance to work reliably. The listener also needs to periodically check that the t-coil function on the hearing aid or cochlear implant is operating efficiently and programmed according to user needs.
Looping systems can be designed, purchased and installed by Tri-State Loops. We carry today’s top systems and amplifiers for a wide variety of installations in the home, workplace, theater, house of worship, transportation, health care, and education settings..
One More Question?
Whether you have a question or concern about how to implement a looping system in your home, business, courtroom, school/college, house of worship, fitness center, theater or favorite entertainment location, we can help. We would love to hear from you.