Induction Loops: What Are They And How They Work?

image showing an audience in a conference room. The speaker speaks into the microphone, and the audio signal is sent into the induction loop. A person in the audience wearing a hearing aid switches on the t-coil. The audio signal from the learning loop is picked up by the t-coil and entered directly into the hearing canal .

Almost every person with a hearing impairment wears a hearing aid. However, in a group setting or a public place, it is not easy to differentiate between background noise and the main source of sound. For example, at a train station, an announcement for the next train may not be heard very clearly because of all the other sounds in the vicinity picked up by the hearing aid. Similar environments like auditoriums, community gatherings, classrooms etc. make hearing aids pick up all sounds that are present, thus making it difficult for the main sound to be heard clearly.

Induction loops have been around for decades but have picked up quite a bit in the last 5 years or so. They are one of the best assistive technology solutions available to enhance sound for deaf people in a public setting. The technology involves looping a room with copper wire. When a person speaks into a mic, or makes an announcement, their sound, through the device they are using, is sent to an amplifier. The current that is produced by the amplifier is sent to the loop system, creating a magnetic field that transmits an audio frequency. This current is picked up by the t-coil or telecoil inside a hearing aid, and is translated into audio. Thus, through the induction loop system, audio is entered directly from the source into the person’s ear canal without background noise or other audio interferences nearby. All hearing aids, old or new, have t-coil built into them.

Metro Sound Pros is the first company that started implementing induction or hearing loop systems, and it was a New York Times article earlier this decade that kind of made this technology a little more mainstream. Today, there are several establishments, from hospitals, universities, religious institutions to subway stations, old age homes and libraries that offer hearing loops. There is also a website (and an app), loopfinder.com that will show you all venues in your area that have hearing loop enabled. Every hearing loop enabled venue has the following logo displayed:

hearing loop logo that is displayed at venues that have it enabled. It has the image of an ear with a white strip going through it. There is the letter

The following videos will give you more in depth information of what hearing loop is and how it works.

Source: Recordonline

Featured Image Source: Zounds Hearing

4 Comments

  1. Much of what’s in this essay is accurate and useful but it also contains some errors (some of which are significant). The very first sentence is grossly incorrect. Most people who could benefit from hearing aids do not have them – at least in the U.S. where the American Speech-Language Hearing Association estimates only 25% of those who could benefit from hearing aids actually have them. Another inaccuracy – all hearing aids do not have telecoils. The most recent Consumers Guide to Hearing Aids indicates that nearly 75% of hearing aid models currently on the market have or can be fitted with telecoils but the percentage of hearing aids sold that actually contain telecoils is considerably lower and in some that do have telecoils their users have never been told about them. In many instances they have not been activated so anyone with hearing aids who does not know if they are telecoil equipped should consult their provider and ask.

    Metro Sound Pros has been a major installer of hearing loops in New York including several Broadway theaters but I believe induction loops (now usually called hearing loops) have been around a lot longer than Leo Garrison and his company. Hearing loops were being promoted by Rocky Stone, the founder of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) many, many years ago and were in use in Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe even earlier. As a legacy to Rocky’s pioneering the technology among members of that national support group, HLAA has an ongoing initiative – Get in the Hearing Loop – with loads of information on it posted at http://www.hearingloss.org/content/loop-technology.

  2. I see no comments here but I submitted one earlier regarding a couple of inaccurate statements in this piece. What gives?

  3. Unfortunately if people only read the original post and not the comments they will still be misinformed. You might want to consider correcting the original post so that it imparts accurate information.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*