The hearing aid you are wearing might be equipped with a telecoil, or you might be interested in one which has a telecoil built in. A telecoil is a tiny coil of wire that can provide you with a number of advantages. Continue reading to learn more about what a telecoil can do for your hearing.
Telecoils are designed to detect magnetic signals. A telecoil will only transmit magnetically created sounds, not all sounds the way the conventional microphone and amplifier do. Originally, the number one use for this function was to better hear phone conversations. The speakers in older telephone handsets included strong magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore offer a clear transmission of only those sounds arriving through the phone. Newer phones do not naturally produce these signals, but many are equipped with supplemental electronics that make them telecoil compatible.
The telecoil feature isn’t just used in telephones. Theaters, auditoriums, stadiums and train stations often use them within their Assistive Listening Systems. These venues will often provide headsets or receivers that the hearing impaired can use with their own hearing aids to pick-up the signals. Users often say that the clarity of the sound they acquire magnetically surpasses the sound quality transmitted through the air acoustically.
The capabilities of the telecoil inside a hearing aid will vary with the size, type and age of the instrument. Telecoils are more often seen in larger hearing aids, such as those that rest behind the ear. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and microphone modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer models are often equipped with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the instrument or on a remote control.
You may have heard about interference when using a telecoil: it can happen, but it’s rare. The interference typically originates from equipment such as CRT monitors or from fluorescent lights in the room. It will sound like buzzing which gets louder as you get closer to the source of the interference.
The advantages of a telecoil-equipped hearing aid greatly outweigh the costs. You’ll find that the cost of a telecoil-enabled hearing aid is only slightly higher and well worth the additional capabilities.