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If you are new to hearing aids, the chances are you don’t always understand all the different features offered. Hearing aids today can come equipped with a wide range of assistive features from rechargeable batteries to tinnitus therapy. When considering which features may be right for your needs, it is important to understand the advantages of equipping your hearing aid for loop systems. Also known as “telecoil”, hearing loops are a widely-used assistive technology that can make complicated sound environments much easier to navigate.
What Is a Hearing Loop?
Hearing loops are a versatile technology. A source of sound, such as a microphone at a pharmacist’s window or the audio track of a movie is sent through an amplifier and converted into a current sent through a copper wire. The current generates a magnetic field which can be picked up by hearing aids equipped for telecoil. When a hearing aid detects these magnetic signals from a loop system it can re-convert them into their original sounds, adjust the amplification to compensate for hearing loss, and deliver clear sound directly to the ear canal.
Hearing loops have many advantages. They can optimize focused hearing in noisy or complicated sound environments reducing intrusions from background noise. Hearing loops can be used discreetly by anyone with a hearing device that is equipped with telecoil. The systems themselves deliver true-to-life sound and are unobtrusive and low-maintenance.
Where Are Hearing Loops Used?
Hearing loops have a very wide range of applications and the technology is in use internationally making it a great accessibility tool for travelers. You can find hearing loops by looking for their international symbol: the outline of an ear intercepted by a thick diagonal bar and the letter “T” in the lower right corner.
Look for hearing loops in large public settings. Places of worship, music venues, museums, movie theaters, school classrooms, conference centers and civic buildings are all common sites for hearing loops. The assistive technology is also widespread in transportation centers. Airport terminals, train stations and even taxi cabs may feature telecoil hearing loops to make navigating easier. Hearing loops are also used on a small scale to better facilitate private conversations. Hearing loops are often present at bank teller windows, information desks and at a pharmacist’s counter. Even if you don’t see the symbol for a hearing loop, the assistive technology may be available.
How To Hearing Loops Benefit Your Hearing
By delivering focused sound to your ear canal, comprehension and communication becomes far easier in a noisy setting. A recent study showed that, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), 86% of hearing loop users ranked their comprehension at 8 or higher. For those listening without the use of a hearing loop only 13% ranked their hearing experience at 8 or above. The same study even found that while nearly 40% of hearing loop users ranked their listening ability at the maximum level of 10, less than 5% of non-users ranked their hearing so highly.
After a year when we truly saw the importance of social distancing, hearing coils offer another important benefit – the delivery of crisp sound is not reliant on shared equipment, such as headphones or earpieces. With hearing loop technology, sound is delivered directly without distortion, cumbersome wires or equipment, making it as hygienic as it is effective.
To take advantage of telecoil technology, you’ll want to opt for hearing aids that feature loop-compatibility. While wearing your hearing aids, you can easily switch on telecoil reception. Often, activating a telecoil on your hearing aid will be a small physical switch but for some models it can also be done via remote or smartphone controls. You’ll want to review the functions of your hearing aids with your hearing specialist to ensure you are fluent in using your device’s telecoil.
Are you ready to experience what better hearing sounds like? Choosing the right hearing aid for your needs means understanding your options. That’s where our experts come in. We can help you find the features that make a difference in your daily life. We’re happy to help you connect with life-changing hearing technology to help you hear your best.