The value of telecoils in hearing aids

Posted by Julie, Volunteer Mentor @julieo4, Apr 24 11:47am

Many people who use hearing aids have never heard of telecoils, a built in component that can easily double the value of hearing instruments. Some providers seem to believe that telecoils, which use induction technology to connect with external systems, is outdated technology. They are wrong. While induction technology was used decades ago to connect hearing aids to old landline phones, it is also used in a variety of ways to connect with the audio technology we enjoy using today. Maybe you've never heard of telecoils. Perhaps you've not heard of hearing loops or 'audio loops'. If that's true, it's time to open your eyes and ears and learn. A hearing loop in an auditorium or theater is like having binoculars for your ears. With the simple push of a control on your hearing aid, you can connect directly into the sound system in that room. No add on receivers. No background noise. It can be a miracle in your life, but you have to know about it, be sure you have it, and use it. You may find a need to advocate for it in locations where it has not been installed. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates 'communication access', but it also clearly states that access must be requested in advance. Many venues avoid having to install it because people who should be using it don't educate and advocate. Venues have to learn about it before they can install and provide it. Until they do, most of them think sign language interpreters provide access. Yes, the do for about 6% of the population with hearing loss, but the huge majority of people with hearing loss do not use any form of sign language. Interestingly, the culturally Deaf population that uses manual communication advocates loudly and clearly. The hard of hearing population does not, unfortunately.

Loop technology can also be used with personal devices like laptop computers, tablets, cell phones, etc. Maybe you don't ever watch audio presentations on your computer because you don't hear well enough to enjoy them. Well, a personal device called a 'neckloop' can be plugged in, worn around your neck, and used to bring the sound direct to your hearing aids. You are basically looping yourself when you do that instead of looping an entire room. Many people install loops in their homes that connect to TV. The key here is bringing the desired sound directly to your hearing aids by having them bypass all background noise and interference in the area.

I would love to hear stories from you about how you have used telecoils and induction techlology. Where do you find it helpful? Did you have a personal ah ha moment when you first experienced it? I publish a couple of newsletters that are sponsored by HLAA in Wisconsin. First person stories are always welcome. They help people realize they are not alone with hearing loss and are good for the soul! Please consider sharing your story. If you don't know what telecoils are, share that too. And if you don't use them, ask your provider if you have them and if you don't, why not? A hearing aid without a telecoil is like a car without air conditioning. You don't need it all the time (especially in Wisconsin), but when you do need it, you want to have it! I look forward to hearing your stories.

Oddly, many hearing aid manufacturers don’t seem to want to install telecoil. Evidently it is a nuisance factor for them or it requires expenditure of a dollar or two. I am an old duffer in a nursing home who is living ina hard of hearing world. Believe me, just about everybody here is a deafie, and we don’t hold a candle to forthcoming generations, so I’ve been told. One ear has a cochlear implant and the other wears a hearing aid. Incidentally, the cochlear implant is equipped with telecoil, as are all cochlear implants. So much for outdated, unnecessary material business. I carry a small fm arrangement with a neck loop. If I place the f m transmitter near a speaker and utilize the telecoils in my aid and implant,I can hear very well up to a hundred feet away regardless of background noise or any hearing situation. I certainly would not want to be without. At church I plug in my neck loop, turn on the telecoils, and I can hear very well anywhere in the chapel and even in the parking lot outside the building. Hear the speaker, that is. Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without the telecoils.

I’m late deafened, but I have discovered what I consider an important fact. Ninety percent of the hard of hearing business is marketing. The profit margin looms large, larger, and largest. If a later development can supplant an older technology that actually works just as well, watch out. The newer technology wins out and the older practice becomes “outdated.” Of course, the newer technology costs additional hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars. This, I fear, is why some marketers consider telecoil to be “out of style.” Ah, well. The old motto from Roman times still prevails, carpe diem—buyer beware.

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@wetmountainjohn

Oddly, many hearing aid manufacturers don’t seem to want to install telecoil. Evidently it is a nuisance factor for them or it requires expenditure of a dollar or two. I am an old duffer in a nursing home who is living ina hard of hearing world. Believe me, just about everybody here is a deafie, and we don’t hold a candle to forthcoming generations, so I’ve been told. One ear has a cochlear implant and the other wears a hearing aid. Incidentally, the cochlear implant is equipped with telecoil, as are all cochlear implants. So much for outdated, unnecessary material business. I carry a small fm arrangement with a neck loop. If I place the f m transmitter near a speaker and utilize the telecoils in my aid and implant,I can hear very well up to a hundred feet away regardless of background noise or any hearing situation. I certainly would not want to be without. At church I plug in my neck loop, turn on the telecoils, and I can hear very well anywhere in the chapel and even in the parking lot outside the building. Hear the speaker, that is. Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do without the telecoils.

I’m late deafened, but I have discovered what I consider an important fact. Ninety percent of the hard of hearing business is marketing. The profit margin looms large, larger, and largest. If a later development can supplant an older technology that actually works just as well, watch out. The newer technology wins out and the older practice becomes “outdated.” Of course, the newer technology costs additional hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars. This, I fear, is why some marketers consider telecoil to be “out of style.” Ah, well. The old motto from Roman times still prevails, carpe diem—buyer beware.

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Thank you for sharing with us. You hit the nail right on the head for the most part. Yes, cochlear implant processors all have telecoils now. They have not always had them though. People who were pioneers in CI technology had to lobby the industry to let them know that t-coil connectivity was wanted and needed. It didn't take long before they became standard. And, most hearing aids that are manufactured now have telecoils in them, but it takes activation by the fitter to make them work. And, sometimes the buyer has to choose between volumne control and telecoil, which doesn't make sense when you need both. It remains a mystery as to why those who fit and sell hearing aids don't tell their customers about options that work…or take time to teach them how they work.

There has been a lot of emphasis with providers and manufacturers on BlueTooth (BT) technology to use in some of the ways telecoils are used. You are correct, the dollar difference is huge.While a simple telecoil in a hearing aid or CI processor costs no more than $25, the BT add on devices and capability are likely to add $1000 or more to the price of the hearing aid! It's newer technology so the sales pitch favors it. Still, one can have both BT and telecoil in a hearing instrument. You don't have to choose one over the other. People do not realize that while BT is wonderful, sophisticated, relatively new tech, it cannot do everything that telecoils and loops do. Why? Because each personal device that has BT capability is set to be used with a single add on BT device; a remote microphone in particular. Yes, you can give your BT mike to a speaker and hear clear as a bell from afar, BUT no one else can. If there were 25 people in a room with BT technology, the speaker would have to use 25 BT microphones. Not exactly practical.

With a loop system that works with every telecoil equipped device within a workable radius, it takes only one microphone that is connected to the public address system the general audience in the room is using to connect. No hassle. No add on receivers. Nothing to do but flip a switch on your personal device when you want to hear what's being said. FM receivers and infrared receivers also work well, and anyone can use them even if they don't use hearing aids, but they have to plug something into them to allow them to pick up the main signal. For those w/o telecoils that means headphones. You've chosen to add a hearing loop to the FM transmitter via a neckloop attached to an FM receiver. You are using 2 different technologies. It would require a headset or ear buds of some kind for others to use the system with the receiver and no personal hearing devices. It works. But it's so much easier to just have a hearing loop installed in the room for everyone to use. And yes, those w/o hearing aids can use a loop with headphnes and a receiver. We used FM with neckloops in our community almost exclusively for years. We found that people did not want to use headsets that other people may have used. We encouraged them to buy their own. At some point it was difficult to purchase monaural headphones, so they'd plug in stereo headphones and get no signal. Big turn off. Many of the receivers sat in boxes unused. We also had to encourage each venue to add the cost of personal neckloops to the FM receivers. We now have over 800 hearing loops installed in Wisconsin, thanks to education and advocacy done by people who want to hear. It sounds like what you are doing is working for you. Again, thank you for sharing. Keep on educating those folks in your community.

Liked by tonyinmi

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@julieo4

Thank you for sharing with us. You hit the nail right on the head for the most part. Yes, cochlear implant processors all have telecoils now. They have not always had them though. People who were pioneers in CI technology had to lobby the industry to let them know that t-coil connectivity was wanted and needed. It didn't take long before they became standard. And, most hearing aids that are manufactured now have telecoils in them, but it takes activation by the fitter to make them work. And, sometimes the buyer has to choose between volumne control and telecoil, which doesn't make sense when you need both. It remains a mystery as to why those who fit and sell hearing aids don't tell their customers about options that work…or take time to teach them how they work.

There has been a lot of emphasis with providers and manufacturers on BlueTooth (BT) technology to use in some of the ways telecoils are used. You are correct, the dollar difference is huge.While a simple telecoil in a hearing aid or CI processor costs no more than $25, the BT add on devices and capability are likely to add $1000 or more to the price of the hearing aid! It's newer technology so the sales pitch favors it. Still, one can have both BT and telecoil in a hearing instrument. You don't have to choose one over the other. People do not realize that while BT is wonderful, sophisticated, relatively new tech, it cannot do everything that telecoils and loops do. Why? Because each personal device that has BT capability is set to be used with a single add on BT device; a remote microphone in particular. Yes, you can give your BT mike to a speaker and hear clear as a bell from afar, BUT no one else can. If there were 25 people in a room with BT technology, the speaker would have to use 25 BT microphones. Not exactly practical.

With a loop system that works with every telecoil equipped device within a workable radius, it takes only one microphone that is connected to the public address system the general audience in the room is using to connect. No hassle. No add on receivers. Nothing to do but flip a switch on your personal device when you want to hear what's being said. FM receivers and infrared receivers also work well, and anyone can use them even if they don't use hearing aids, but they have to plug something into them to allow them to pick up the main signal. For those w/o telecoils that means headphones. You've chosen to add a hearing loop to the FM transmitter via a neckloop attached to an FM receiver. You are using 2 different technologies. It would require a headset or ear buds of some kind for others to use the system with the receiver and no personal hearing devices. It works. But it's so much easier to just have a hearing loop installed in the room for everyone to use. And yes, those w/o hearing aids can use a loop with headphnes and a receiver. We used FM with neckloops in our community almost exclusively for years. We found that people did not want to use headsets that other people may have used. We encouraged them to buy their own. At some point it was difficult to purchase monaural headphones, so they'd plug in stereo headphones and get no signal. Big turn off. Many of the receivers sat in boxes unused. We also had to encourage each venue to add the cost of personal neckloops to the FM receivers. We now have over 800 hearing loops installed in Wisconsin, thanks to education and advocacy done by people who want to hear. It sounds like what you are doing is working for you. Again, thank you for sharing. Keep on educating those folks in your community.

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To whom it may concern.
Years ago I took my mother to a theater that had the system installed since she had the telecoil in her 2 new behind the ear hearing aids. She has since passed and I really hadn't thought about it again until now. I have 2 in the canal hearing aids and the warranty is due up on them next month. I'm not sure if the telecoil is available in the type I have but I will definitely ask about it. I would be interested to know where and if the system is being used. Although I plan on staying with the type I have I would really enjoy experiencing what my mother must have been able to enjoy.
Sincerely,
Gerald Hefferon (Jerry)

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@jigger12

To whom it may concern.
Years ago I took my mother to a theater that had the system installed since she had the telecoil in her 2 new behind the ear hearing aids. She has since passed and I really hadn't thought about it again until now. I have 2 in the canal hearing aids and the warranty is due up on them next month. I'm not sure if the telecoil is available in the type I have but I will definitely ask about it. I would be interested to know where and if the system is being used. Although I plan on staying with the type I have I would really enjoy experiencing what my mother must have been able to enjoy.
Sincerely,
Gerald Hefferon (Jerry)

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Hi Jerry. Where do you live? There's a list of hearing loop installations at http://www.hearingloop.org However, I don't think it's as up to date as it should be. I'm from Wisconsin. We have been doing a lot of advocacy and education here, and there are over 700 loop installations in WI. The installations tend to be clustered in areas where HLAA has active chapters. Communication access is included in the Disabilities Act, but it's not a given. People who need it, have to let the places that should have it know they want it. It begins with education. If you live in one of those cluster areas I may be able to point you to someone who has updated information.

Ii would add that you are correct, some hearing aids do not have the size capacity for telecoils to be included. Most in the ear models can accommodate them. The tiniest hearing aids, the in the canal type, may be too small. If you still have your mother's hearing aids, you might consider having them adjusted for you to use when you are in a looped venue. Or, you can request a receiver and headphones to use there.

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@julieo4

Hi Jerry. Where do you live? There's a list of hearing loop installations at http://www.hearingloop.org However, I don't think it's as up to date as it should be. I'm from Wisconsin. We have been doing a lot of advocacy and education here, and there are over 700 loop installations in WI. The installations tend to be clustered in areas where HLAA has active chapters. Communication access is included in the Disabilities Act, but it's not a given. People who need it, have to let the places that should have it know they want it. It begins with education. If you live in one of those cluster areas I may be able to point you to someone who has updated information.

Ii would add that you are correct, some hearing aids do not have the size capacity for telecoils to be included. Most in the ear models can accommodate them. The tiniest hearing aids, the in the canal type, may be too small. If you still have your mother's hearing aids, you might consider having them adjusted for you to use when you are in a looped venue. Or, you can request a receiver and headphones to use there.

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HLAA only has four chapters in Oregon, all of them at least two hours away. We live on the coast, where I've not found one single meeting room with an induction loop. Shoot, many of us have zero cell reception (not much reason to have a smartphone); in fact, our town's city hall has no cell phone reception without a password to their WiFi! Neither, for that matter, does Walgreen's drug store, which is only a quarter-mile or so from THE cell tower in town. Our entire community of several hundred homes has zero cell reception, other than a few houses where they can sometimes get reception in one particular location out on their decks above the ocean. Because our town of 8,000 relies 100% on tourism, the majority of people are either unemployed or retired, and the town is losing close to a million bucks every month that nightly rentals are shut down. Ordinarily, we'd have more than 40,000 visitors in town most weekends, most of them paying nightly tax. So, I don't see much hope for any changes here any time soon. We're all scrambling just to try to keep everyone fed.

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@joyces

HLAA only has four chapters in Oregon, all of them at least two hours away. We live on the coast, where I've not found one single meeting room with an induction loop. Shoot, many of us have zero cell reception (not much reason to have a smartphone); in fact, our town's city hall has no cell phone reception without a password to their WiFi! Neither, for that matter, does Walgreen's drug store, which is only a quarter-mile or so from THE cell tower in town. Our entire community of several hundred homes has zero cell reception, other than a few houses where they can sometimes get reception in one particular location out on their decks above the ocean. Because our town of 8,000 relies 100% on tourism, the majority of people are either unemployed or retired, and the town is losing close to a million bucks every month that nightly rentals are shut down. Ordinarily, we'd have more than 40,000 visitors in town most weekends, most of them paying nightly tax. So, I don't see much hope for any changes here any time soon. We're all scrambling just to try to keep everyone fed.

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You are blessed to live in a beautiful area of the country. I live in tourist country too. We know that urban areas are likely to have more actively involved advocacy/education groups than we have, but we can also do some educating where we live if we know what to tell people. It's a choice and a reality. If you have telecoil equipped hearing aids, I strongly suggest that you purchase a Williams Sound neckloop to use with your computer and other personal audio devices. It will work well with a good old Walkman portable radio, and also with newer devices like tablets, iPods, etc. A neckloop will give you a taste of what an installed loop can do in a large venue. I discovered the value of this technology in 1984, and have used it and loved it since then. I also use BlueTooth when it's effective, but that basic induction loop, worn around my neck has everything I need when I'm at home. Your hearing aid fitter can order a neckloop for you. I think they are also available on Amazon and sometimes even on eBay. Be sure to buy new, not used. Cost will range between $35 – $60, with the higher cost being from you hearing aid provider. Nothing ever changes without personal action. And yes, we are all scrambling right now. Tough times all around the country. We are all in this together and it will get better in time.

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@jigger12

To whom it may concern.
Years ago I took my mother to a theater that had the system installed since she had the telecoil in her 2 new behind the ear hearing aids. She has since passed and I really hadn't thought about it again until now. I have 2 in the canal hearing aids and the warranty is due up on them next month. I'm not sure if the telecoil is available in the type I have but I will definitely ask about it. I would be interested to know where and if the system is being used. Although I plan on staying with the type I have I would really enjoy experiencing what my mother must have been able to enjoy.
Sincerely,
Gerald Hefferon (Jerry)

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Jerry, I see that Julie already mentioned hearingloop.org. Another resource to help find looped (and other type Hearing Assistive Technology), is https://aldlocator.com/#/home
You mention that you have canal hearing aids. Chances are, they will not have a telecoil. There is not enough room to fit a coil. You can still experience the induction loop, but you would need a loop receiver and use headphones to pick up the signal from the loop.
Tony in Michigan

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The VA does not pass these out to us. Probably too much money but they would be nice to connect to my TV or Cell Phone.

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If you're a veteran, consider participating in the national virtual veterans HLAA Chapter. If you're concerned about the cost of neckloops and even room loops that can be installed in your home, the cost is not prohibitive. Neckloops are usually under $50. A room loop might cost around $250. A sacrifice for some, but well worth saving for. NOTE: You could ask a lot of questions of that virtual veterans chapter. They meet regularly on ZOOM. Very easy to do. Information at: http://www.hearingloss.org The past president of the national HLAA organization is a retired U.S. Marine.

Liked by Juli

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Hi, Thanks for hosting this chat! I have been on the lookout to see where telecoils are useful in Canada and the US. I am a long term hearing aid wearer and strongly believe all hearing aids should have telecoils. I was shocked to realize that in Canada most manufacturers do not install this. I believe it's the same in the US as the manufacturers are the same. Widex supplies EU markets, and perhaps it is a requirement, but all their aids have t-coils.

I travel a lot. In the UK taxi drivers have telecoils! it's fantastic to hear the driver easily. I was visiting London, UK and heard a case in the new Supreme Court building. Knowing that they are advanced over there (re understanding hearing disability) , I turned on my telecoil switch and was delighted to hear the proceedings! It was amazing, I was probably one of the few who actually heard as it was really difficult to hear normally. My family members who were there (and have normal hearing) could not hear the proceedings.

The Mirvish theatres in Toronto also have telecoils – installed a new system they asked me to try and it was great. I actually heard "War Horse" live. I got a loop at the theatre that worked with my Widex.

Just saw the "Get in the Loop" program! Awesome.

Big thing would be if places like yours could advocate and help convince the large manufacturers to automatically include t-coils in hearing aids. They used to be included automatically as those would link to landlines. Cheers!

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The hearing loop movement is alive and well in the United States, but it's sporadic. Areas where there are active HLAA chapters seem to be where most of the loops are. The 'telecoils' are components in hearing aids that can connect directly to hearing loops that are installed in listening arenas; churches, theaters, performing arts centers, auditoriums, etc. The majority of behind the ear hearing aids have telecoils in them, but too often the fitter doesn't turn them on. Or, even worse, a person has to make the choice to have either manual volume control or a telecoil. All hearing instruments should have both. I live in Wisconsin. We have over 700 loops in our state. http://www.loopwisconsin.org has a list of where they are. http://www.hearingloopo.org may also have a list of other states where loops are installed. It's important to understand that we can use telecoils in other ways. One of my favorite pieces of equipment is a neckloop, which is a small wire one wears around their neck and plugs it into an audio device. I use it all the time on my computer. It brings the sound right to my personal hearing devices; a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. It's so helpful with webinars and now with videoconferencing. You can plug a neckloop into a cell phone, an ipad, ipod, portable radio or any device that has an input jack. In some instances, as with newer iphones you will need a small addition that will allow you to plug into the phone's input slot, which cannot receive a standard jack. I hope Canadians get on the loop circuit. I suspect the Canadian Hearing Association is on it, but don't know. The European countries have been using these technologies for decades.

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It seems a lot of hearing aids don't have t-coils because there are too few looped facilities. And there are too few looped facilities because people don't have t-coils and ask for them. We need to promote hearing loops more and raise awareness of their potential. I'm appalled at how many audiologists don't promote t-coils.

I'm trying to get VA to install hearing loops in my local clinic and my request has been denied twice. I requested a room loop and counter top models for check-in. VA has more patients with hearing loss than any other provider, yet some facilities refuse to provide hearing loops. I'm not giving up yet.

We installed a loop in our church 2 years ago. My guess was that 95% of hearing aid users did not have t-coils in their hearing aids, or had t-coils that were not activated, or had active t-coils but didn't know how to use them. A lot of these folks were veterans and I told them to go to VA and tell them to provide t-coils. They will generally do this IF the patient demands.

So, since the audiologists aren't promoting t-coils I guess it is on us to advocate for ourselves.

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@arrowshooter

It seems a lot of hearing aids don't have t-coils because there are too few looped facilities. And there are too few looped facilities because people don't have t-coils and ask for them. We need to promote hearing loops more and raise awareness of their potential. I'm appalled at how many audiologists don't promote t-coils.

I'm trying to get VA to install hearing loops in my local clinic and my request has been denied twice. I requested a room loop and counter top models for check-in. VA has more patients with hearing loss than any other provider, yet some facilities refuse to provide hearing loops. I'm not giving up yet.

We installed a loop in our church 2 years ago. My guess was that 95% of hearing aid users did not have t-coils in their hearing aids, or had t-coils that were not activated, or had active t-coils but didn't know how to use them. A lot of these folks were veterans and I told them to go to VA and tell them to provide t-coils. They will generally do this IF the patient demands.

So, since the audiologists aren't promoting t-coils I guess it is on us to advocate for ourselves.

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WE WANT TO HEAR! Right? We spend big bucks for hearing aids. They should be able to do everything they possibly can do to make better hearing possible. The new thing is to push BlueTooth streaming. BT is great, but it has limitations. I use it, but I would not give up a telecoil to have it. I want both!

The real issue is 'size'. Look at all the ads for hearing aids. Everyone of them promotes "invisible"; "so small no one will know you're wearing it", etc. The industry is marketing denial. The smaller the device the fewer components inside it. Therefore, telecoils are being left out due to space in new designs. Telecoil components base cost is less than $30, and probably more like $2. On the other hand, BT added to a hearing aid will increase the cost considerably. Makes you wonder how important the profit issue is doesn't it?

Telecoils can be used in many unlooped settings. They can be used with FM systems and with Infrared systems by simply adding a neckloop to the receivers required with FM and IR. As I mentioned earlier, those neckloops can connect to many other audio devices we need to hear on to use. I carry one in my purse to use with my cell phone. Yes, I can use a BT clip, but the neckloop is easier, and I don't have to worry about something clipped on my shirt.

Another issue here is education. To teach a person to use a telecoil, the fitter has to be willing to take the time to show a person how it works. They should install a hearing loop in their office so then can demonstrate it. They should show the patient how to use a neckloop with a computer, cell phone, radio, etc. It takes time and TIME IS MONEY. It's a shame that people have to learn about things that work from people who use them rather than from the people who sell them. I doubt that anyone would choose to buy a car without air conditioning. You don't need it all the time, but when you do, you sure don't want to be without it. Telecoils are like that. When it comes to hearing aids we need to think like consumers, not patients.

People with hearing loss have a right to 'communication access'. We have an invisible disability. It is a disability nevertheless, and it is covered under the American's with Disabilities Act. However, that act also says we have to ask for what we need. When we don't know what we need we are stumped. Learn, do the advocacy. Get out and educate instead of hiding those hearing aids. HLAA is working very hard to promote hearing loop technology, but it takes people everywhere to do the educating.

Obviously, this issue is dear to my heart. Sorry for such expounding. YOU are the solution to this, along with 40+ million other hard of hearing people in the USA. I'm sure that Canada has millions too.

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In response to Julie's posts about telecoils and neckloops: I continue to believe that we all need a handbook to help us learn all the various ways to enhance the work our aids do! Even those of us who are somewhat able to deal with tech issues are overwhelmed with all the tech stuff surrounding hearing! For me, it's even worse due to the fact that I live in a beautiful spruce forest…that has absolutely no, none, not any, cell reception! People who sell cell phones, tablets, etc. apparently cannot even imagine such a situation, so they are clueless about answering questions.

After three days of no phone, internet, or e-mail–but, ugh, TV, we finally got a new modem from Charter/Spectrum and, after five hours driving out to get instructions via cell phone, then driving back to try the suggested fixes, then driving out again and waiting up to an hour each time for a live person, we now have service restored. I did ask the last tech about our lack of cell service using our modem's WiFi (which is supposed to work). He admitted that he lives where there's poor reception and often cannot use his cell phone (either personal or provided by the company) at his house or at many of the places he goes to restore service! Even though we have no cell service here, Charter kept sending texts to my cell phone…and couldn't understand why I didn't respond.

In this rural area, I've yet to find a single meeting room that's looped, so I've never had that experience. Shoot, it's hard to find meeting rooms that offer WiFi, to the point that I've almost given up on Live Transcribe, which requires functioning WiFi. I need to learn about neckloops, esp. when Julie mentions using them with FM or infared (which I'm totally clueless about). Fortunately, the woman who helps me with my aid at Costco is very knowledgeable and helpful, so, now that things are not quite so closed down perhaps I'll be able to schedule an appt. with her to learn more.

The really good news for me is that, after a year of being basically deaf, I've managed to shove the Meniere's Monster back into the closet: I finally found a local doc willing to prescribe adequate hormones for someone my age and am now almost six weeks into living without constant vertigo!!!!! The fact that my hearing is almost as good as it was before Meniere's went bilateral a year ago is a totally unexpected bonus, and I'm thankful every day. The distortion and recruitment are gone as well, so I can actually use the phone again. Freedom! I'm still learning to move around with almost no balance function on my formerly good side and have just begun vestibular rehab–I have some residual balance function on both sides, so it's very hopeful that I'll be able to regain stability through daily vestibular exercises. Even though I can now hear (not well, but enough to get by), I need to use this time to learn more about hearing better.

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@julieo4

WE WANT TO HEAR! Right? We spend big bucks for hearing aids. They should be able to do everything they possibly can do to make better hearing possible. The new thing is to push BlueTooth streaming. BT is great, but it has limitations. I use it, but I would not give up a telecoil to have it. I want both!

The real issue is 'size'. Look at all the ads for hearing aids. Everyone of them promotes "invisible"; "so small no one will know you're wearing it", etc. The industry is marketing denial. The smaller the device the fewer components inside it. Therefore, telecoils are being left out due to space in new designs. Telecoil components base cost is less than $30, and probably more like $2. On the other hand, BT added to a hearing aid will increase the cost considerably. Makes you wonder how important the profit issue is doesn't it?

Telecoils can be used in many unlooped settings. They can be used with FM systems and with Infrared systems by simply adding a neckloop to the receivers required with FM and IR. As I mentioned earlier, those neckloops can connect to many other audio devices we need to hear on to use. I carry one in my purse to use with my cell phone. Yes, I can use a BT clip, but the neckloop is easier, and I don't have to worry about something clipped on my shirt.

Another issue here is education. To teach a person to use a telecoil, the fitter has to be willing to take the time to show a person how it works. They should install a hearing loop in their office so then can demonstrate it. They should show the patient how to use a neckloop with a computer, cell phone, radio, etc. It takes time and TIME IS MONEY. It's a shame that people have to learn about things that work from people who use them rather than from the people who sell them. I doubt that anyone would choose to buy a car without air conditioning. You don't need it all the time, but when you do, you sure don't want to be without it. Telecoils are like that. When it comes to hearing aids we need to think like consumers, not patients.

People with hearing loss have a right to 'communication access'. We have an invisible disability. It is a disability nevertheless, and it is covered under the American's with Disabilities Act. However, that act also says we have to ask for what we need. When we don't know what we need we are stumped. Learn, do the advocacy. Get out and educate instead of hiding those hearing aids. HLAA is working very hard to promote hearing loop technology, but it takes people everywhere to do the educating.

Obviously, this issue is dear to my heart. Sorry for such expounding. YOU are the solution to this, along with 40+ million other hard of hearing people in the USA. I'm sure that Canada has millions too.

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As a little kid in the 60's I used the t switch to hear on landlines. It was a requirement that both phones and hearing aids be compatible. My hearing aids always had a T switch so I had no idea it was thing not to have one, I have a loop and t-switch and am well familiar with their use and like you would like to see it more available in North America. I am also happy we now have bluetooth now.

I certainly hope for more telecoil and FM systems to be available publicly. Hopefully legislation likr ADA should ask for manufacturers to install the telecoil by default. It should. Theatres and cinemas should get them… closed captioning in the few available cinemas is so clumsy,

My sadness seeing friends fitted with hearing aids is that the settings are not adjusted to the individual. They are adjusted to a theoretical
standard but its like fitting for glasses and the optician saying this is right for you based on theory. I tell my friends to go back and get adjustments based on speech comprehension tests but the fitters won't cause it is not in their book. But they do get some adjustments and the result is a bit better.

But yes! telecoils as much as possible! Thank you for your clarity and advocacy.

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