When you attend an event as a person with hearing loss, you may just be resigned to the fact that the experience will be much less than ideal. It may be difficult to hear what’s coming in through the loudspeakers because of even the subtlest background noises.
You may sit quietly during the discussion at a dinner party because it’s difficult to understand the person next to or across from you. The rustling and background discussion is just too much.
But technology is changing the way a person with hearing loss can socialize and participate in these settings.
Revolutionizing the Hearing Experience
This technology works in two primary ways.
In the first, a handheld device interacts with the hearing aid of an individual. This connection can make discussions with the person closest to you so much more comfortable in a busy room or loud event.
In the second, a Hearing Loop System is installed into the room itself. This system makes it easier to hear the distinct sounds from multiple speakers such as those you might find in a seminar, theater or concert.
Those who don’t have this particular telecoil can use a loop system headset to benefit from the system.
Those who have experienced the difference that these systems make say that it’s tough to explain. It merely makes the assisted hearing experience much easier and more enjoyable.
What Is a Hearing Loop?
A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room. It’s connected to the speakers in that room. This wire transmits electromagnetic sound that can be picked up by a telecoil inside your hearing aid or cochlear implant.
What Is a Telecoil?
A telecoil or T-coil is a tiny copper coil antenna inside your device. It wirelessly interacts with a Hearing Loop System to improve the clarity of sound. This technology was initially used to improve how those with hearing loss hear on a telephone. All landline phones and cell phones are required to have this technology. But today, the use has been expanded to help you hear better out in public.
The telecoil and wire loop act as an invisible bridge connecting you to the sound that would otherwise sound far away and distorted.
Finding Hearing Loop Enabled Locations
These systems are becoming more common. You may not even be aware that a location you frequent has this system installed. Once you learn that a place has the system, you’ll want to update your technology so that you can enjoy this perk being offered by the venue.
If planning an event, ask is the venue has a “Hearing Loop System” to accommodate those with hearing loss. This will not only benefit you but everyone at the event who has a hearing device that works with the system.
Types of Signage
The universal symbol for a building that has special accommodations for those with hearing loss is the white outline of an ear on a blue background with a large white dash going through the ear diagonally.
A “T” in the lower right corner will further distinguish the fact that the accommodations work with telecoils.
The sign may also have words explaining what it is for those who’ve just recently been introduced to the world of assisted hearing.
If the same sign has a purple background and no “T,” this tells you that the venue has devices and systems available to aid those with hearing loss. These may include several types of accommodations from infrared to FM headsets. This sign may or may not indicate that a Hearing Loop System is installed.
If you’re confused, you can always ask for clarification.
Does Your Hearing Aid Have a Telecoil?
Not all hearing aids have a telecoil. If you’re interested in this enhanced technology, you should inquire if the hearing aid you’re considering has a telecoil. Be aware the hearing aids with telecoils are often slightly larger than those without.
If you already have a hearing aid but don’t know if it has a telecoil, you can ask your audiologist, call the manufacturer or research the model number online.
If your current aid doesn’t have a telecoil, you may want to make a note of this article and ask about this feature when it’s time to buy a new device.gett