Hearing loops bring a new and improved listening experience to hearing aid users by reducing the amount of background noise and increasing the quality of the sound you want to hear.
What are hearing loops?
A hearing loop system is a type of assistive listening technology where a wire is connected to a sound system through an amplifier that distributes sound throughout the room. The loop connects wirelessly with the telecoil feature of the user’s hearing aid to produce improved sound quality.
Traveling directly to the hearing aid, the user can more clearly hear a speaker at the front of the room, a performance or movie in a theater, announcements in an airport, or even their own television sets. The hearing loop eliminates unnecessary background noises that are typically picked up by hearing aids.
With a loop, hearing aid users experience audio quality as if they were sitting right next to the presenter or performer. Former barriers such as acoustics, background noise or distance from the speaker are no longer prohibitive factors with hearing loops.
How do they work?
The hearing aid’s telecoil – a small copper coil available in many units – works as a wireless antenna linking to the sound source, delivering high-quality sound to the listener. Some cell phones and all landline phones are designed to be used with a telecoil. Once the t-coil feature has been programmed into the hearing device, the user simply needs to switch their hearing aid or cochlear implant to the “T”, telecoil, or hearing loop program. No additional receiver or equipment is typically necessary. If the hearing aid does not have a telecoil, you’ll require a headset connected to a loop receiver or purchase an accessory that enables your hearing aids to access the telecoil to get the same effect.
Listeners getting their first hearing aid should be sure a telecoil is included with the instrument. The technology can improve your listening experience in a growing number of environments.
Unlike other assistive listening technology options – such as FM/RF systems and infrared technology – a hearing loop doesn’t require bulky headset receivers from the user or venue. The user simply presses a button on their own hearing device, instantly connecting them with an audio stream directly from the sound system. This technology helps create equal access for those with hearing loss, providing them more independence.
Where are loops located?
There are a growing number of locations using hearing loops. Here are some locations with installed systems in the Mason City, Northern Iowa and Albert Lea, Minnesota.
- Hearing Associates waiting room in Mason City: The TV is looped so customers can experience the benefits of a loop firsthand.
- First Lutheran Church in Northwood, Iowa
- Wesley United Methodist Church in Mason City, Iowa
- Garner United Methodist Church in Garner, Iowa
- Northwood Movie Theater in Northwood, Iowa
To learn more about hearing loops, activate the T-switch on your hearing aid or schedule an appointment online at Hearing Associates or call us at 888-760-2032.
Image courtesy of OTOjOY, click image to enlarge.