When a hearing aid wearer tries to tune in to a speaker in a crowded area, the amount of background noise can quickly become daunting. Large, open spaces such as places of worship, auditoriums, movie theaters and concert halls can be especially troublesome. Hearing loop systems provide a straightforward solution to this issue, making it very easy for individuals with hearing aids to enjoy movies, sermons, concerts, and other presentations without distraction.
Hearing loop systems take advantages of the telecoil feature that is included in most hearing aids. Telecoils were originally designed to pick up on the magnetic fields created by coils within telephones. By isolating these fields, telecoils allowed people wearing hearing aids to have clear phone conversations without being annoyed by background noise. Hearing loop systems take this concept a few steps further by creating a larger magnetic field for telecoils to pick up on.
A hearing loop system begins with an audio input, either from a dedicated microphone feed (such as in an auditorium or place of worship) or a PA system. The input travels into a hearing loop amplifier, which then drives a current through one or several cables that are looped around the venue. If the technicians who install the hearing loop system do their jobs correctly, anyone wearing a telecoil-equipped hearing aid will be able to hear the transmitted sounds clearly wherever they are in the room, without any “drop-out” or “dead spots”.
While newer technology such as FM transmission neck loops are becoming more established among many establishments, hearing loop systems can still offer a number of advantages to the hard of hearing. These systems are very convenient for patrons whose hearing aids have a telecoil feature, allowing them to visit any properly equipped venue without worrying about their ability to hear. They also provide a simpler, more discreet listening experience, since they don’t require the user to wear any additional equipment.
Though no hearing technology is perfect, hearing loop systems offer a huge service to many people, giving many listeners a much more enjoyable experience.