Any time a hearing aid wearer tries to listen to a speaker in a crowded location, the amount of background noise can easily become daunting. Concert halls, auditoriums, places of worship and theaters are particularly problematic for the hearing impaired. Fortunately hearing loop systems permit individuals wearing hearing aids to readily focus on the sounds they want to hear – sermons, presentations, movie dialogue, and music – without any unwanted distractions.
Hearing loop systems work together with the telecoil feature found in many hearing aids. Originally, the telecoil feature was used primarily to pick up on magnetic signals created by telephones. This allowed the wearer to easily listen to telephone conversations without distraction from background noise. These same telecoils can be used by today’s hearing loop systems, which create magnetic fields on a much larger scale.
A hearing loop system begins with an audio input, either from a dedicated microphone feed (such as in an auditorium or place of worship) or a PA system. This audio signal is fed into a hearing loop amplifier, which drives a current through a cable (or series of cables) looped around the room. Properly installed loops do not have dead zones, which means that anyone with a telecoil who is inside the loop can pick up on the transmitted audio.
While newer technology such as FM transmission neck loops are becoming more established among many establishments, hearing loop systems can still offer a number of advantages to the hard of hearing. Their convenience alone makes them a popular choice among venues and patrons alike. Listeners also appreciate their more subtle nature, which allows them to enjoy a concert, presentation, or worship service without the self-consciousness that can accompany wearing a neck loop.
Despite their initial set-up cost, hearing aid loops are an efficient and effective way to make sure all visitors to a venue are able to enjoy their experience.