If you have hearing loss, hearing aids can help you enjoy clearer, quality sound in all different environments. However, sometimes additional hearing aid technology can make your listening experience even better.
When it comes to public places, hearing loops and telecoils can amplify the sounds you want to hear while tuning out what you don’t.
What Are Hearing Loop Systems?
Hearing loops are an assistive listening system that can be found in many public places like museums, convention halls, houses of worship and performance venues like the Golden Gate Theater. They use electromagnetic energy to transmit sound directly into your hearing aid or cochlear implant. They consist of a sound source, an amplifier, a loop of wire and a telecoil.
Telecoils, or t-coil as they are sometimes called, are small copper wires that exist in most hearing aids and all cochlear implants. When activated, they act as a receiver in the loop system that lets you stream sound directly into your device.
Why Are They Helpful?
If you’re at a large public event, it can be difficult to hear speech or music with all the competing background noise. By streaming sound directly into your device, they help to eliminate this noise and customize the sound to provide you with high-quality hearing.
How to Know if Venues Have Loop Systems?
There are several ways to find out if the place you’re at has hearing loop systems:
- In-person. You can look for hearing loop signage if you’re already at the venue. It will consist of a blue sign with a white ear icon and the letter “T” in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Use Google Maps. Google Maps now lets users find out if a place has a hearing loop. When you pull up a venue on Google Maps, there will be a box that contains information about the venue, like their address and phone number and a short description of the venue. Click the more arrow “>” to find out about accessibility information, including hearing loops.
Talk To Your Audiologist About Telecoil Capabilities
Not all hearing aids have a telecoil, particularly very small models that fit completely within the ear canal. If you’re unsure whether your hearing aids have a telecoil, ask your audiologist. If they do, ask them to walk you through exactly how to use the technology so that you can get the most benefit.
A study published in 2021 found that hearing aids users who received the necessary training and information about hearing loop systems experienced greater benefits from using the technology.
If you would like to learn more or wish to schedule an appointment with one of our hearing experts, call San Francisco Audiology today.