Hearing aids are incredibly effective at improving a person’s ability to hear, but when used in a crowded atmosphere they can easily bombard the listener with unwanted noise. This is especially true in noisy venues such as concert halls, movie theaters, auditoriums and churches. Fortunately, hearing loops systems provide a solution to this problem, permitting hearing aid wearers to readily hear 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. These same telecoils can be used by today’s hearing loop systems, which create magnetic fields on a much larger scale.
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. This audio input is routed to a hearing loop amplifier, which then feeds a current along a cable or series of cables that have been installed around the room. If the loop is set up correctly there will be no dead zones or dropouts, allowing everyone in the loop with a telecoil to clearly hear the transmitted sound.
Despite the fact that several newer technologies like FM transmission neck loops are being installed in public and private venues, traditional audio loop systems continue to offer several unique benefits. These systems are very convenient for patrons whose hearing aids have a telecoil feature, allowing them to visit any properly equipped venue without worrying about their ability to hear. They are also a much more subtle solution than neck loops and other paraphernalia, allowing patrons to enjoy a movie, concert, or worship service without embarrassment.
Though no hearing technology is perfect, hearing loop systems offer a huge service to many people, giving many listeners a much more enjoyable experience.