The Invisible Solution to An Invisible Challenge

In technical terms, a "Hearing Loop" is an Audio Induction Loop System -- but "Loop," "Hearing Loop" and "Loop System" are often used to describe this assistive listening technology. 

In its most simple form, a "Hearing Loop" utilizes a loop of copper wire around the perimeter of an area that is connected to an induction hearing loop amplifier. An audio input signal (from a microphone, TV or other sound system) is directed to the hearing loop amplifier, and the amplifier drives an audio current through the wire loop in the form of a strong alternating current. As the alternating current from the loop amplifier flows through the loop, it creates a magnetic field within the looped area and “induces” the telecoil (or T-coil) in a hearing device, or specifically designed hearing loop receiver, within the looped area.

When a hearing device user -- hearing aid or cochlear implant -- switches their device to the “T” position, the telecoil in the hearing device picks up the fluctuations in the magnetic field and converts them back into alternating currents. The alternating currents are amplified and converted by the hearing device into crisp, clear sounds -- free of the background noises that interfere (impede) with hearing, understanding and engagement. 

Not all loop layouts are a simple single wire surrounding a room but this illustration helps explain the technology.  Note that NOT all loop solutions require professional installation -- some are desk or counter-top portables that may be used in more than one location. 

What does the Hearing Loss Association of America say about Hearing Loops?

Using a telecoil and hearing loop together is seamless, cost-effective, unobtrusive, and you don't have to seek additional equipment. If your hearing aid doesn't have a telecoil, you will need a headset plugged into a loop receiver to achieve the same effect.

Find out more by reading the Frequently Asked Questions about Hearing Loops.

What is a Telecoil, a.k.a. T-Coil?

telecoil in a hearing aid functions as a wireless antenna that links to the sound system and delivers customized sound to the listener. A telecoil is a small copper coil that is an option in most hearing aids and is built into cochlear implant processors. Telecoils also known as t-coils and were originally used to boost the magnetic signals from the telephone handset. The telecoil is activated by a t-switch. All landline and some cell phones are designed by law to be used with a telecoil.

The telecoil can make a noticeable difference in your life when combined with hearing assistive technology such as the hearing loop. This pairing of technology bridges the space between you and the sound source. The hearing loop connects the listener directly to the sound source while most of the background noise is eliminated.

If you are buying a hearing aid for the first time, be sure to ask that a telecoil be included. With a telecoil you can expand the functionality of your hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Webinar: The Role of Telecoils in Hearing Device Use (October 2010)