What is a Hearing Loop and did you say something about a T-Coil?

hearing loop installed sign for using t-coil with hearing aids hearing loss

What is a hearing loop?

You may have seen the signs in the airport, a theater, a church, a courtroom, or some other large venue and perhaps your audiologist mentioned that feature of your hearing aids.  What did they say about it?  How does it work?

A loop, sometimes called an audio induction loop, is a sound system that meets the requirements of the ADA law (American’s Disability Act).

The Hearing Induction loop provides a wireless electromagnetic signal that is received by a hearing aid that is set to the “T” setting or a device that has a T-coil such as a “loop listener”, a pocket talker, or a Personal Sound Amplifier (PSAP).   The components of a Hearing Loop contain a microphone, an amplifier, the special wire that goes around a specific venue area (ex:  a church, a courtroom) that acts as an antenna to radiate the signal to the aid.  When the speaker talks into the Mic, it goes to the amplifier which sends out the signal via the copper wire.  The copper wire sends out an electromagnetic signal that is picked up by your personal hearing aid T-Coil.  And voila, the sound is clear and crisp right in your ears.

You may ask, If I already have a hearing aid, why do I need to use a loop?

There are many benefits for the user of the loop.  First, it is easy to use and it wasn’t invented yesterday.  It is tried and true technology that has been around a long time.  Once you enter a space that has a loop, just switch your device to the telecoil program and automatically you will hear a clear and customized sound.   The sound is of high quality because that sound is streamed directly into your device; no background noise.  It is customized by your unique hearing device.  Also, it is discreet.  All you have done is change into your T-Coil program on your hearing aid/ device via a push-button/switch or via the app on your cell phone.  When you are in the loop, no additional equipment is needed other than your t coil, so no need to worry about how well that equipment was cleaned between uses. If you don’t have a t-coil in your hearing aid or you don’t have a hearing aid, simply ask for a loop listener from the venue.  If the venue doesn’t have a loop listener, purchasing a device just for the loop is not expensive.   We are happy to talk to you at Hears to U, Audiology about low-cost devices for use in a hearing loop.

Many things can be looped; in fact anything that can plug into a 3.5 jack. You could plug in your MP3 player, a phone, an Ipad, computer, even a stethoscope.

Lastly, the hearing loop can be added to a variety of spaces; from meeting rooms to the courtroom, to places of worship, theaters, airports, countertops, and even homes.  We have a faithful t coil patient who even looped his car.  One of our patients looped her living room.

The options are near limitless.

One of our patients wanted to encourage her house of worship to install a loop system as it had renovation plans under discussion.  The space was large and often used as a concert hall.  The problem was, she had difficulty hearing.  Another wanted her local theater to invest in a system.  She was looking forward to the play but then could hardly hear the actors.  It would be so frustrating to purchase tickets, look forward to an evening of entertainment, only to have it ruined because you could not hear.  Our fantastic MSP airport has looped all of the international travel areas because Europeans expect loops in the terminals.

In St. Louis Park, MN we have lots of loops to include our City Hall meeting rooms, the JCC theater, and some churches.  In Hopkins, MN the City hall council chambers are also looped.   If you are in Minnesota and want to get involved join Loop MinnesotaClick here for more information.

That all sounds very interesting, but what happens if my hearing aid does not have telecoil capabilities.  Can I still use a loop?  Yes, you can use a telecoil-equipped streamer, a personal amplifier, or special devices with or without a smartphone app.  Feel free to contact us at Hears to U, Audiology, and Hearing and Hearables and we will help direct you in the right path.  If you have a significant hearing loss, be careful not to buy a mild amplifier as it won’t be enough gain for you to hear well through the device and the Hearing loop.  Check-in with your audiologist as they will help you.

So get in the Loop!  We promise it is a Wow listening experience.

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