Learn how to use Mayo Clinic Connect
Request an Appointment
Do your hearing aids have telecoils? Do you use them? Did your provider demonstrate what they can do?
I am quite elderly, getting new hearing aids, and want to know if a telecoil equipped hearing aid would help me. I am not sure I am understanding what I am reading here. No public buildings have telecoil eqiuipped rooms in my area.
Would telecoil equipped hearing aids help in a book club meeting of about 25 comfortably spaced people in a library room? Would I need a loop? A microphone?
On my smart phone,could it replace bluetooth?
Can I connect with a loop to my computer for enhanced sound?
Are there any negative things to consider on getting a telecoil equipped hearing aid?
Jump to this post
Definitely ! Telecoil equipped heating aids could help enormously in a large book group if you use a portable loop with an auxiliary microphone on a long cord. Put the mic out in the middle of the group ( you may have to move it around a time or two) and keep the portable at your side and you will hear better. And also, yes to the computer sound. It requires a small cable to connect to the computer, but sound is delivered clearly, directly into your hearing aids. I use mine every day!!
I would like to reply to your question, but first in full disclosure I am neither a hearing loss professional nor a hearing aid/cochlear implant user. But I am an educator with a background in students with profound cognitive and physical disabilities, as well as a qualitative researcher who “listens” to what people tell me in order to understand problems and create solutions.
So please take the following with the appropriate grains of salt. Over the past 4-5 years a group of passionate advocates and hearing device users in our area have been working hard to understand how to make a decision like yours in the context of changing technology as well as “what is becoming looped” in the US. Here’s what I have heard:
1) You want to hear and comprehend as best as possible everywhere across your daily life.
2) That means you want all the tools you can get and are able to work with – including pen and paper, Bluetooth, telecoils, and whatever creative means come along to include you in conversations.
3) Telecoils take up a small bit of territory in a hearing device.
a. People often want “the tiniest” hearing aids possible. So telecoils get left out. But also remember that tiny anythings often don’t go well with older eyes and fingers. Make sure you can manipulate your devices and forget about vanity!
4) You may also want rechargeable batteries. Some hearing aid manufacturers eliminated telecoils to fit in the rechargeables. But you can have both – ask for it.
5) People may say “I have Bluetooth. I don’t need telecoil.” This is like saying, “I have pepper. I don’t need sugar.” They are different, and you need to have both options!
a. There is a learning curve with both of these. So be kind to yourself and don’t get frustrated as you learn.
b. And remember that it isn’t always your fault if you aren’t hearing correctly through these systems!
6) You never know when your house of worship, or your senior center or wherever else you like to gather will “get looped”. You may or may not continue to travel at this point, but having telecoils at the ready means that you can use them anywhere when you do encounter a loop installed in a concert hall, taxi, church etc.
7) And as Sue Prichard above points out, you can also have your own personal loop for when you need more than your hearing aids. She uses hers with computer, for example, since there is no battery drain or “pairing” required, as well as for social gatherings to hear more than one speaker.
So, if I were in your position, especially since you might not get many more hearing aids, I would equip myself with a telecoil at this point, understand what they can from all the great literature and testimony out there, think about where I wish you could hear better and use the right tool for that situation. And then of course advocate to get hearing loops installed in those places. You are NOT the only one who needs to hear better in them!
I have also attached some thoughts along these lines that we have about “looping your life”. We have seen the dramatic impact it can make for our friends and families.
Loop Your Life concept and feedback form (Loop-Your-Life-concept-and-feedback-form-2.pdf)
Photos of portable loops at businesses and at home (Photos-of-portable-and-small-loops-in-use-at-businesses-and-at-home-2.pdf)
You can connect a personal neckloop to any audio device that has an input jack for headphones. That includes cell phones, iPods, iPads, some TV sets, computers, portable radios, etc. The neckloop works with the telecoil in the hearing aid through induction technology, which simply means it broadcasts to your hearing aid when the hearing aid microphone is turned off. That eliminates background noise. If you install la hearing loop in a TV room, anyone sitting inside that looped area can turn on telecoils and hear very clearly. The key is that it blocks out the background noise that makes hearing difficult for us.
Loops can be installed in theaters, meeting rooms, performing arts centers, classrooms, etc. When you enter a looped room, you simply turn on the telecoil in your hearing aid to hear w/o background noise. There is no limit to the number of people who can use the system. It works when the microphone attached to the venue's public address system is being used. Adding a telecoil to a hearing aid does not add cost to that hearing aid.
BlueTooth is similar and involves 'streaming'. It's great with cell phones, and can be used with a TV. BlueTooth cannot be used in a larger venue as each person who wanted to use it would have to supply a microphone to the sound source. (Visualize a speaker wearing 25 clip on microphones.) BT adds a big number to the cost of a hearing aid. Worth it for many, but not for all.
You may get more information about telecoils and loops at: http://www.hearingloop.org
PS: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires 'communication access' in public venues. Many places use other technology like FM systems and Infrared systems. To use those with your telecoils you have to connect a personal neckloop to the receiver that is provided. Without a neckloop you would have to take your hearing aids off and use a headphones. People w/o telecoils can use a loop system by connecting headphones to a receiver provided by the venue.
So much easier to simply walk into a venue, push a button on your hearing aid and hear well.
Outstanding information @julieo4 and @ginevraralph! So helpful.
I am grateful for all the good information which is helping me to better understand what is involved. You have made it much clearer.
Thanks. I have been wearing hearing aids for 10 years and have had problems with them hurting my ears if I wear them too long, and good quality sound should help.
Create an account to connect with other patients and caregivers like you.Ask questions, get answers, and give and get support.Also follow blogs from Mayo Clinic experts.
Already have an account? Sign In