A couple of weeks ago, Angie wrote a post chronicling her repeated failure to find functional loops so she could try out her newly-activated telecoil. I was curious, as I’ve never used a loop myself. I’ve seen the signs, of course: the white ear on blue background with a T next to it. But until my recent last visit at Phonak headquarters, I wasn’t even certain my hearing aids had a telecoil (they do).
It seems I’m not alone in being mystified/uninformed about loops, as the many questions on the Phonak Facebook page testify.
So. What are these hearing loops?
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember me mentioning streamers like the Compilot Air or the M-DEX. What these streamers do is they transmit sound from an audio source (typically, your phone) directly into your hearing aids. Your hearing aids are basically working like “in the ear headphones”.
Induction loops allow the same kind of experience — without the streamer and in a specific place.
Here’s one of the many articles on hearing loops I was reading this morning, perfect if you’re in a geeky state of mind. The loop is actual wiring that produces an electromagnetic field which is “captured” by the telecoil in your hearing aids and transformed into sound.
This means that if you’re at a theatre that is equipped with a loop, you can put your hearing aid on the T-coil programme, and lo and behold, you’ll hear the audio that is playing directly in your hearing aids. Same thing at the till when you’re buying your train ticket — instead of struggling to hear through the glass and the crappy loudspeakers, you can hear the teller directly in your ears.