When a hearing aid wearer tries to tune in to a speaker in a crowded place, the levels of background noise can quickly become daunting. This is especially true in boisterous settings such as movie theaters, concert halls, churches, and auditoriums. Fortunately, hearing loops systems provide a solution to this disadvantage, permitting hearing aid wearers to readily distinguish the sounds they wish to enjoy.
Hearing loop systems work together with the telecoil feature found in many hearing aids. Telecoils were originally designed to pick up on the magnetic fields created by coils within telephones. By isolating these fields, telecoils allowed people wearing hearing aids to have clear phone conversations without being annoyed by background noise. Hearing loop systems take this concept a few steps further by creating a larger magnetic field for telecoils to pick up on.
A hearing loop system begins with an audio input, either from a dedicated microphone feed (such as in an auditorium or place of worship) or a PA system. The input travels into a hearing loop amplifier, which then drives a current through one or several cables that are looped around the venue. Properly installed loops do not have dead zones, which means that anyone with a telecoil who is inside the loop can pick up on the transmitted audio.
While newer technology such as FM transmission neck loops are becoming more established among many establishments, hearing loop systems can still offer a number of advantages to the hard of hearing. The fact that hearing loop systems are reliable, relatively easy to set up and work with the telecoils already installed in many of today’s hearing aids makes them popular with facility managers as well as with guests. Listeners also appreciate their more subtle nature, which allows them to enjoy a concert, presentation, or worship service without the self-consciousness that can accompany wearing a neck loop.
While hearing loop systems require some initial investment in terms of equipment and set-up, they are a proven way for venue owners and managers to offer a high-quality listening experience to as many visitors as possible.