What Are Hearing Loops?
Also known as Audio Frequency Induction Loop systems, Hearing Loops are a sound transmission system which carries any sound to be received by telecoil receivers – located inside of hearing aids, or cochlear implants. For hard of hearing people who do not have telecoil capabilities with their hearing aids or cochlear implants, they can use special telecoil receiver headsets to receive the loop sound signal.
Hearing Loop System sound transmission components consist of:
- The sound source – a microphone, TV, music player, or Public Address (PA) system
- An audio cable, to connect the sound source output to the hearing loop amplifier
- The hearing loop system amplifier
- The antenna – either a perimeter wire placed around a room, or a small area loop pad
Why Hearing Loops?
Hearing Loop sound delivery systems can benefit those persons who have the most difficulty using their remaining hearing – people who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. Unlike other wireless hearing-assist devices such as FM and InfraRed systems, where every person who uses these systems must wear a receiver headset, Hearing Loop systems transmit sound directly into a person’s hearing aid, or cochlear implant. The telecoil inside of a hearing aid and/or a cochlear implant acts as a sound receiver, and accepts the sound signal transmitted throughout the Hearing Loop system.
By transmitting sound wirelessly to people’s hearing aid or cochlear implant, Hearing Loops deliver sound that is then customized to the unique settings of the listener’s own personal listening device. This brings out all the parts of sound that the hearing aid or cochlear implant device accentuates, and delivers exceptional sound discrimination and clarity. Other wireless hearing assist systems, such as FMs and InfraRed systems, transmit sound via receiver headsets, which can only be adjusted for volume. Increasing volume does not by itself, increase sound clarity.
Video – How Hearing Loop Systems Work – An In-home Hearing Loop System
Why Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants Aren’t Enough to Help People Hear
“For many hard of hearing people, hearing aids [and cochlear implants], no matter how new their technology, how well they were fitted and no matter how well they work in quiet and intimate situations, do not provide effective assistance when listening from a distance, both in quiet and in noise. This is not the fault of the technology of the hearing aid, [or cochlear implant] – this is due to the physics of sound and often due to the very nature of hearing loss. That is where hearing loops via the telecoils in hearing aids [and cochlear implants] can help.
With the flip of the hearing aid’s telecoil switch, [or the press of a button on a cochlear implants’ remote control], any sound distance between a speaker on a podium and the listener in that auditorium is eliminated, allowing the person to hear with greater clarity than one-on-one conversation in quiet.”
Credit: Juliette Sterkens
For a History of Hearing Loops, whose technology is 300 years old, and whose application is 80 years young, READ MORE.
What Are Telecoils?
Inside 75 – 80 % of hearing aids, and 100% of cochlear implants, are miniature sound-signal receiving devices called Telecoils, or T-coils. Smaller than a dime, the telecoil serves to amplify any sound that is transmitted through the process of magnetic induction, if two conditions exist – if the sound being transmitted is travelling through an antenna wire, AND the telecoil receiving device (the hearing aid or cochlear implant), is within range of the antenna wire. Below is an excellent video, explaining telecoils and their connection with hearing loops.
It’s easy to Make Life Hearing Friendly – with help from POW!