In the Loop: Get the Most out of Your Hearing with Hearing Loop Technology

In the Loop: Get the Most out of Your Hearing with Hearing Loop Technology

In Hearing Aid Technology, Hearing Aids by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A

Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A
Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)

If you have hearing aids, you might be accustomed to using them to orient yourself to the world on your own. By simply amplifying the sound of the acoustic environment, you can do a lot to improve hearing ability and communication. However, raising the volume on the world also amplifies background noise. Not only will you hear the sounds of interest to you, but you will also hear the ambient sound of fans, traffic, and other noise at the same time. Many of the latest hearing aids use Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) to reduce that background sound, yet it can still be an issue. One solution to this problem is to use Bluetooth connectivity to sync with media when possible. Yet, there is another technology that can work to your advantage: hearing loops. Let’s take a moment to explore the reality of hearing loops, why you might want to use them, and how they can help you better understand human speech. 

What is a hearing loop?

If you have ever seen a sign with an ear and a letter “T,” you might be within range of a hearing loop. This technology builds a magnetic ring that can effectively broadcast sound to those within the circle. Some hearing loops, otherwise known as induction loops, connect with unique devices and headsets. Many public places, such as courthouses, town halls, libraries, and other public services, have hearing loops installed as an accommodation for those who have hearing loss. These institutions often offer a headset for those who do not have hearing aids. However, many hearing aids are also compatible with hearing loops when available. 

How can I connect with a hearing loop?

Each set of hearing aids is unique in this regard, but there are a few principles to keep in mind. If you have a hearing loop or “telecoil” setting, you can engage this setting either manually or with an app on your smartphone. When you step into a hearing loop, your aids will shift from acoustic amplification of the environment to a direct feed from a microphone. Hearing loops are common in public address systems. They are also used at counters where an individual uses a mic to communicate. In both cases, it is possible to use the hearing loops to get a direct line from that microphone, rather than amplifying the entire room. 

Where can I find a hearing loop?

Although public buildings are often mandated to install hearing loops for hearing impaired visitors, other places can benefit from hearing loops, as well. You can sometimes find hearing loops in cinemas, museums, performance spaces, churches, shops, and health services. Hearing loops can even be installed in vehicles, making it possible to bypass the sound of the road noise or traffic. Homes can use hearing loops, as well. Particularly in places where conversations commonly take place, such as the kitchen or living room, a hearing loop can improve the audio quality of voices. If you are interested in learning more about hearing loops or installing your own system, feel free to contact our hearing health professionals for more information. 

How can I improve my hearing?

Hearing loops are a great way to improve your hearing, particularly in public places. These loops can be used with stand-alone devices, but hearing aids are a better way to incorporate general hearing assistance into your life. Not only can hearing aids use hearing loops for targeted assistance, but they can also integrate with acoustic sound outside the loop. If you have trouble hearing, the first step is to get a hearing test. This exam will give you a full diagnosis of your hearing needs, and our hearing health professionals can use that information to recommend the right aids for your needs. If you are ready to learn more about hearing assistance, including hearing loops, a hearing test is the first step. Simply contact our office to make an appointment. We will guide you through the process of learning about your hearing ability, accessing hearing aids, if necessary, and adjusting to this new technology, including the connection with hearing loops in your life.