Hearing Loops Rock! Do You Use Them? Do You Know Where They Are?

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Aug 4, 2022

Anyone who has tried assistive technology in public venues will tell you that hearing loops are the premier technology. FM systems and infrared (IR) systems work, but loops are the preferred technology by far.

In order to connect with any of this technology easily, your personal hearing instrument or cochlear processor has to have a functional telecoil component. That component uses induction technology to connect your personal equipment to the desired sound.

Sadly, some of the new hearing aids do not contain telecoils, but most of them could if the buyer of the product asked for it, and if the provider promoted it. Instead, they promote BlueTooth (BT) BT is a very good thing to have too, but to get the most bang for the buck out of a hearing device you will want to have both BT and Telecoil (TCoil). BT may connect you to your TV and cell phone, but it will not connect you to the sound system at a meeting, or in a performing arts center, or other place where microphones are in use. With telecoils you can simply turn your personal technology to the telecoil mode in a looped venue and hear whatever is coming through the sound system without background noise. It's wonderful! (Note: A telecoil adds no cost to a hearing instrument. BT adds hundreds of dollars.

In previous discussions, many people have said there are no looped places in their area. Still there should be FM or IR if no loops. WIth the receivers required for those systems you can connect a personal sized neckloop and get the same results. The bother of the receivers is an issue as they have to be maintained, charged made available, etc. With a loop system it's up to you to connect. Easy peasy.

OK. So where are there hearing loop installations. Just received good news from HLAA's 'Get in the Hearing Loop' program that Google maps are going to note locations that are accessible.
Keep in mind that 'communication access' is your right under that Disabilities Act. BUT, you have to ask for it and do some advocating and educating. If you want to hear…get the message! HERE'S THE SCOOP!:

Google Maps Adds Hearing Loops to Website for Hearing Aid Telecoil Users
Published 03 August 2022
Google Maps is now including hearing loops in the accessibility information on its website, which should prove useful for users of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other listening devices that employ a telecoil. Although this has received little notice from the national media or hearing loss related entities, it represents good news for people who are hard of hearing and use hearing aids and other devices that employ a telecoil, according to the consumer advocacy group Loop New Mexico (LNM).

Google Maps Adds Hearing Loops to Website for Hearing Aid Telecoil Users
Published 03 August 2022
Google Maps is now including hearing loops in the accessibility information on its website, which should prove useful for users of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other listening devices that employ a telecoil. Although this has received little notice from the national media or hearing loss related entities, it represents good news for people who are hard of hearing and use hearing aids and other devices that employ a telecoil, according to the consumer advocacy group Loop New Mexico (LNM). http://www.loopnm.com/

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss Support Group.

Why didn’t my audiologist offer telecoil to me? I know you can’t answer that, but I’m frustrated about this.

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@mpeters

Why didn’t my audiologist offer telecoil to me? I know you can’t answer that, but I’m frustrated about this.

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You have a right to be frustrated about this. Education takes time; time is money. Bluetooth adds considerable cost to a hearing aid. Telecoils don't. You really need both of these components to get the most bang for the buck with a hearing aid.

All an audiologist has to do to educate about telecoils is install a small hearing loop in their office and let their clients try it to see if it's worth having.

Audiologists often tell us that if/when they promote telecoils their patients think they are trying to add cost to the sale price. (At most, a telecoil may add $10 to the cost of a hearing aid.) They also say that telecoils are 'old technology'. Truth is, they are…but they work in ways they were never intended for when they were first used. Then, they were only for hard wired phones. Induction technology also works with public address systems. Telecoils are 'induction coils'. Loops are 'induction loops'. Vocabulary confuses the issue.

Ask your audiologist if telecoils can be added to your current hearing aids. In some instances they can be added. In others, no.

Our hearing healthcare professionals need to know that we want to hear in every possible situation. We pay a big price for that. We are consumers of the products they sell. You have every right to let them know you are frustrated.

Are you willing to do some educating and advocating?

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@julieo4

You have a right to be frustrated about this. Education takes time; time is money. Bluetooth adds considerable cost to a hearing aid. Telecoils don't. You really need both of these components to get the most bang for the buck with a hearing aid.

All an audiologist has to do to educate about telecoils is install a small hearing loop in their office and let their clients try it to see if it's worth having.

Audiologists often tell us that if/when they promote telecoils their patients think they are trying to add cost to the sale price. (At most, a telecoil may add $10 to the cost of a hearing aid.) They also say that telecoils are 'old technology'. Truth is, they are…but they work in ways they were never intended for when they were first used. Then, they were only for hard wired phones. Induction technology also works with public address systems. Telecoils are 'induction coils'. Loops are 'induction loops'. Vocabulary confuses the issue.

Ask your audiologist if telecoils can be added to your current hearing aids. In some instances they can be added. In others, no.

Our hearing healthcare professionals need to know that we want to hear in every possible situation. We pay a big price for that. We are consumers of the products they sell. You have every right to let them know you are frustrated.

Are you willing to do some educating and advocating?

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Thanks so much for the information and encouragement. I will do as you suggest, read and think more about this. Then I will be prepared for my next appt and times when people ask me how I like my hearing aids.

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I have yet to try this tech. I have only been to 1 place that had a loop installed since I got my newest aids and that has been over 2 years. Of course at the time I went I didn’t have the telecoil function set up on my aids. I did asked my audiologist to install it. She did say that our area does not have a lot of them in place yet. But at least I have it for when I need it. Luckily for mine the hearing aid already came with it installed. It was just a matter of the audiologist turning it on for me.

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@mickey5909

I have yet to try this tech. I have only been to 1 place that had a loop installed since I got my newest aids and that has been over 2 years. Of course at the time I went I didn’t have the telecoil function set up on my aids. I did asked my audiologist to install it. She did say that our area does not have a lot of them in place yet. But at least I have it for when I need it. Luckily for mine the hearing aid already came with it installed. It was just a matter of the audiologist turning it on for me.

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We, and our audiologists, should be educating and advocating for this hearing assistive technology in public places. Many worship centers have it, but many need it. They do not have to provide it if people don't ask for it.

A simple, inexpensive 'neckloop' can connect your telecoils to FM and IR receivers that may be used in some venues. BT can connect to some things, but that telecoil will connect to a lot of things BT won't. This is tricky to explain, but people who sell hearing aids should consider it their responsibility to explain it.

Did your audiologist tell you how to use your telecoils with other devices or about neckloops?

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When I first got my binaural hearing aids in 2018 my audiologist recommended I get a telecoil setting as were talking about the installation of a hearing loop at my synagogue. He showed me how to use it and the symbol to look for in a building. My first experience with a hearing loop was in early 2019 at the Museum of Natural History in NYC. We did a tour with a docent and I saw a hearing loop symbol and decided to give it a go. What a difference in that noisy environment! I've had a few other experiences with hearing loops at movie theatres. Unfortunately, my local theatre that does have it doesn't have it on consistently. I've asked a number times and no one who works there knows what I'm talking about. Hmmm. I need to ask the manager. And….we DO have a hearing loop in my synagogue. Our sanctuary is so boomy that I could never get the setup right with the conventional settings of my hearing aids and the hearing loop makes a huge and very positive difference for me. It also works in our social area (downstairs).

REPLY
@julieo4

We, and our audiologists, should be educating and advocating for this hearing assistive technology in public places. Many worship centers have it, but many need it. They do not have to provide it if people don't ask for it.

A simple, inexpensive 'neckloop' can connect your telecoils to FM and IR receivers that may be used in some venues. BT can connect to some things, but that telecoil will connect to a lot of things BT won't. This is tricky to explain, but people who sell hearing aids should consider it their responsibility to explain it.

Did your audiologist tell you how to use your telecoils with other devices or about neckloops?

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No she didn’t tell me about neckloops but again I don’t know that there are a lot of any in our area. This really isn’t much of an issue for me because I don’t usually frequent places that have this type of thing such as places of worship. We went to a museum once and that is where I saw the loop and that was in Philadelphia.

REPLY
@mickey5909

No she didn’t tell me about neckloops but again I don’t know that there are a lot of any in our area. This really isn’t much of an issue for me because I don’t usually frequent places that have this type of thing such as places of worship. We went to a museum once and that is where I saw the loop and that was in Philadelphia.

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Just to clarify. A neckloop is like a headset. You put it around your neck, turn your telecoils on, and plug it into an audio device such as a computer, cell phone, ipad, portable radio, etc. It's a mini loop system that will bring sound from that device directly to your telecoil equipped hearing aid. BlueTooth is similar, but it will not work with a large assistive listening system.

Those systems are installed in theaters, performing arts centers, meeting rooms, conference centers, museums, etc. I mentioned worship centers because many of them have assistive tech even though they are not mandated to have it by the ADA. The public venues are.

Philadelphia has a strong HLAA Presence, so it's not surprising you saw a loop system there. I'm sure there are many installations. When people advocate and educate good things happen. 🙂

REPLY
@julieo4

Just to clarify. A neckloop is like a headset. You put it around your neck, turn your telecoils on, and plug it into an audio device such as a computer, cell phone, ipad, portable radio, etc. It's a mini loop system that will bring sound from that device directly to your telecoil equipped hearing aid. BlueTooth is similar, but it will not work with a large assistive listening system.

Those systems are installed in theaters, performing arts centers, meeting rooms, conference centers, museums, etc. I mentioned worship centers because many of them have assistive tech even though they are not mandated to have it by the ADA. The public venues are.

Philadelphia has a strong HLAA Presence, so it's not surprising you saw a loop system there. I'm sure there are many installations. When people advocate and educate good things happen. 🙂

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So for the neck loop you can use that anywhere that doesn’t have a loop? Again I don’t know that I go anywhere that I need to use it. We don’t frequent movie theaters (and those are loud enough that I don’t need the loop and I use the closed captioning options they have) or theaters.

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@mickey5909

So for the neck loop you can use that anywhere that doesn’t have a loop? Again I don’t know that I go anywhere that I need to use it. We don’t frequent movie theaters (and those are loud enough that I don’t need the loop and I use the closed captioning options they have) or theaters.

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A neckloop can be used with any device that has an internal jack for a standard headset. If a venue has installed an FM system or an Infrared System (IR), a neckloop plugged into the FM or IR receiver the venue provides will work with your telecoils. Much nicer than having to take off your hearing aids to use a provided headset or ear buds.

Good to know you use the captioning equipment in movie theaters. Many don't know that's available either. Which captioning system do you use at movie theaters?

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