We all know what hearing aids can do for the hearing impaired, no doubt, but perhaps you’ve never heard of hearing loops. Utilizing the latest in technology to help those in a crowded area better detect what’s being said, these loops increase the efficiency of an individual hearing aid, working in conjunction with one another. For instance, in meetings, background noise and additional frequencies can make it hard for a hearing aid user to pick up on clear words and conversations. But due to large strides in technology research since the days of hearing trumpets 200 years ago, the hearing impaired community is seeing advancements toward technology that filters out the din of background noise. Hearing loops came about as the result of the acceptance of the hearing impaired community and as well as the progression of technology over the years.
What are Hearing Loops?
There are two basic forms of technology that come into play in terms of hearing loops. One is the hearing aid itself, and the other is a cable that circles a building – or far more likely – a single room to pick up on sounds within that area. It’s through this cable that people with hearing aids can hook up and detect crystal clear detail on what is going on. This is a huge help, particularly in meetings where many people are talking over each other. Connecting ambient sound with users, individuals with any degree of hearing loss can detect conversations better.
A Closer Look
When it comes to hearing aids and remote telecoil technology, most hearing aids and cochlear implants of today feature a t-switch. When activated in your hearing device, this t-switch allows the individual to access the electromagnetic sounds that are being funneled through the hearing loop. The user can then detect sounds more clearly and with fewer background noises than if he were using just the hearing aid alone. Hearing loops can also work in tandem with a microphone, allowing an individual to directly hear what is being said during meetings and in other public places.
The hearing loop wire, which circles the room, features the ability to transmit sound in the form of electromagnetic signals. It’s this signal that’s powerful enough in that particular area to be picked up by a telecoil – originally used to help handset telephones get better ranges and signals while away from the base. This two-part system is a very basic mechanism that was actually discovered during research regarding telephone technology.
With many states and nations thinking about making the presence of hearing loops in public places a law, this is a testament to just how far the technology has infiltrated the mainstream. It’s this public awareness of the plight of hearing impairments, coupled with advances in technology, that have spurred on the demand for hearing loops. These can be found increasingly in meeting rooms, lecture halls, and public transit areas like airports.