On a fairly frequent basis, I am asked about hearing loops or telecoil settings either within a hearing aid or from a device that claims to connect with one. In many instances, customers are vaguely aware that the hearing aid they obtained from the NHS or bought privately has a 'T' position, a telecoil selectable programme or an 'auto' telecoil. And so what are these things and perhaps more importantly what benefits can they bring?
The telecoil system was made available long before the rather trendy 'Bluetooth' connectivity to which some privately purchased hearing aids may lay claim. Its purpose is broadly the same however, namely providing audio input directly into the hearing aid itself rather than the hearing aid detecting an external noise source and amplifying it according to its programmed response.
The particular benefit here is that rather than relying on the technology within the hearing aid to determine whether this particular source of noise is valuable to the listener or not (i.e. perhaps speech rather than background noise) it is pre-determined that this noise source is of value as it is being 'broadcast' via a loop system. A good example might be in a Theatre where the microphone worn/used by the actors/actresses will pick up their voices and for the majority of the audience this is played through speakers placed around the theatre. In addition, these microphones also provide the sound pickup for the loop system; hearing aids with the telecoil activated (automatically in some models) will then pick this sound up directly rather than indirectly from the speakers around the theatre. The result is much like placing the actor/actress immediately in front of you and for there to be no background noise to drown out what they may be saying (or singing!).
This concept is used in many public buildings and churches alongside some commercial premises like banks. Loop systems for large spaces can be expensive to install and this is often why they may not be as ubiquitously present as one might imagine. In fact, the question has often been raised with regards to the home environment; imagine applying the same principle to the Television or Radio or any other musical or speech based output; in theory you could have the TV playing directly into your hearing aids; no more 'discussions' about volume level or whether the modern day acting fraternity have poorer diction than those in the past.
Until now, the complexity of fitting and the prohibitive nature of associated costs have meant that this application of the hearing loop concept has remained beyond the reach of many. In the true spirit of HearingDirect, we have now sourced a solution. The Geemarc LH 102 Portable Induction Loop - a fantastic, easy to use and install, loop system for the home. In fact from opening the box to the TV playing in your ears takes as little as ten minutes. Simply follow the instructions contained in the box and you could have the CD player, the TV or even your ipod playing directly through the loop facility in your hearing aid in minutes. With an affordable price, free delivery and 30 days to try it out without risk, we think this offers an outstanding opportunity to benefit from this much misunderstood but extremely beneficial technology. Feel free to call us on 0800 032 1301 for more information.