- How Does Telemedicine Work? - February 19, 2021
- Work & Leisure Activities that Could Contribute to Hearing Loss - February 6, 2021
- A Campaign to Make Listening Safe for All - January 25, 2021
Hearing aids are complex pieces of technology that continue to evolve. Like most electronics today, hearing aids have become savvier and more capable of digital connectivity. There is a range of features, settings, and technologies that allow hearing aids to be easily integrated into daily life while maximizing hearing in the environments you navigate. There are also several assistive listening devices (also referred to as systems) that enhance user experience and hearing capacity. One type of an assistive listening system is hearing loops which are designed to amplify sound directly into hearing aids, enhancing overall sound quality.
Hearing Loop Technology
Also referred to as an audio induction loop, a hearing loop is a sound system that hearing aids are able to utilize to provide clearer sound in a specific environment. Hearing loops create a wireless signal that hearing aids can connect to, allowing them to absorb and amplify the sound. This enhances overall sound quality which makes it easier to hear and process. If you are wondering how this works, we will summarize the breakdown of hearing loop technology!
Hearing loops are found in public facilities that have significant traffic and/or are gathering spaces, this includes: banks, airports, conference spaces, classrooms etc. Hearing loops are placed around the space which creates a magnetic field that hearing aids can tap into. Depending on the facility, their source of audio (microphone, speaker, intercom system etc.) feeds audio signals into an amplifier which then creates a current. The current travels through the cables and wires that line the floor or ceiling of a room, creating a magnetic field.
By turning on the telecoil (T) feature on hearing aids, the tiny telecoil that is embedded in the device picks up the signal emitted from the magnetic current. It then converts this signal into sound that it automatically adjusted to meet the wearer’s specific hearing needs.
Benefits of Hearing Loops
Hearing loops offer numerous benefits for people with hearing loss. The significance of this type of assistive listening system is captured by the Hearing Loss Association of America who states, ““telecoils provide many people with hearing loss what wheelchair ramps provide people with mobility challenges—access”. This access helps create environments that people can navigate with greater ease and comfort. Other major benefits include:
- Cost Effective: there are no additional costs or expenses associated with having this greater access to public spaces.
- User Friendly: hearing loops with telecoil enabled hearing aids are easy to use. The wearer simply has to turn the telecoil feature on when in the space. This feature prevents people from needing to use sound equipment (like headsets) that a venue might provide.
- Sound Quality: hearing loops enable hearing aids to stream sound directly to the device. Hearing aids are then able to also make adjustments to the sound to meet the wearers needs. This contributes to greater clarity and sharpness of sound which makes it easier to hear and process. This direct connectivity also reduces background noise, adding to a higher quality of sound.
- Compatibility: hearing loops are found in many facilities and venues that you may find yourself in regularly. This means that your hearing aids are able to better maximize your hearing in countless settings that often are noisier and more challenging to hear in.
- ADA Compliant: the Americans with Disabilities Act requires public spaces that use verbal communication to provide sound support for people with hearing loss. Hearing loops are the most accessible option that meets this requirement.
Additionally, hearing loops allow you to move through a space more independently. They provide the sound support you need to best understand and engage in the environment you are in.
Having the ability to easily tap into hearing loop technology is an incredibly useful way to navigate public space. The far majority of hearing aids have the telecoil feature which is needed to access hearing loops. When purchasing your hearing aids, be sure to ask about and explore this feature with us. It is also important and helpful to discuss the settings you can program to use with the telecoil feature that maximize your hearing!