The value of telecoils in hearing aids
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 Some providers seem to believe that telecoils, which use induction technology to connect with external systems, is outdated technology.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.