Hearing aids are the best option for many people suffering from hearing loss to enjoy the variety of sounds life has to offer. However, when it comes to the quality of perception, the various devices offer a different level of performance, depending on their features.
One of the most significant ones that you can look for in a hearing aid is the telecoil, which can sometimes also be called "t-switch" or "t-coil". If you are wondering what a telecoil looks like, just imagine a tiny coil of copper wire, which serves as a wireless antenna that can detect magnetic signals produced by compatible sound devices, participating in the process.
Usually, a hearing aid picks up sounds through a small microphone. When the wearer is having a conversation in a quiet environment, most hearing aids' performance will be more than sufficient. However, extra help may be required in more complicated situations, such as talking on the phone, for example. In order to hear well in this case, many people will have to turn up the volume of either the phone or their hearing aid, which can lead to disturbing and annoying whistling sounds. Furthermore when the user puts the phone next to their ear, they also place the microphones of the two devices too close to each other, which also results in unwanted feedback.
This is the time when the telecoil program provides its excellent solution, by turning off the hearing aid's microphone and streaming sound from the phone directly to the device. The great thing about the t-coil is that it can provide additional help not only during a phone call, but in many other cases, e.g. when the wearer is in an area with a hearing induction loop system. The induction loop generates a magnetic field that can be picked up by the telecoil to deliver a good quality sound, even in a large and noisy environment. Therefore, the induction loop systems can be very beneficial in public areas such as churches, concert halls, classrooms, trains or bus stations, movie theatres, etc. Such places are usually indicated with an international sign that informs people with hearing aids that a telecoil connection is available.
An induction loop can also be created at home, around specific rooms or places. The telecoil setting of the hearing aid can also be enjoyed with a number of assistive listening devices, compatible with the setting. For example, a great instrument that uses the induction loop effect is the Geemarc Clearsound iLoop Plus. It can be combined with the telecoil so that its users will be able to stream the sound coming from a variety of audio devices, such as TVs, MP3 players, iPhone and Smartphones, etc., directly to their hearing aid. Another excellent option is the fully integrated room loop system Geemarc LH600. Please note that the telecoil cannot be used with all hearing aid types, as it cannot fit into the smallest ones. You can expect to find the setting mainly in BTE and ITE devices.