About Induction Loops
The idea of an assistive listening device
The single most important assistive device for people with hearing loss has been, still is and will be for the foreseeable future the hearing aid. But the hearing aid alone, how digital, high-tech and nice looking it might be, is not a sufficient tool for better hearing in every place and at every time. Sometimes it’s just not enough. When the hearing aid is insufficient the user gets alienated and cut-off of the social setting. To be unable to take part in the social interaction between people is a dreadful experience and it tend to make people alone and unhappy.
The idea of an assistive listening device is to assist whenever the hearing aid is not sufficient. In many cases the only way to increase speech intelligibility is to cut the distance between the sound source and the listener and at the same time reduce the present noise. This can basically be achieved with the use of three different techniques – induction loop, radio (FM) or infrared (IR) systems.
Why is the induction loop system the best solution?
While FM and IR systems may have its advantages in certain personalized situations, only the induction loop can bring sound to everyone, everywhere and at once without the need for an extra receiver. The induction loop uses the built-in receiver in the hearing aid (T-coil) to transmit the sound without background noise through the personally adjusted hearing aid. Without any extra receiver and without any power consumption, the hearing aid user can experience crystal clear sound free of disturbing noise – without even telling anyone about their hearing loss. They just switch their hearing aids to T-position and enjoy the sound. That is real freedom! To bring back this freedom to the hearing aid users and fill them with hope has always been the most important goal for us.
The induction loop is clearly the best option for the hearing aid user. We believe it’s also the best solution for the owner of the venue. Although a loop system might demand a little more commitment at the start, it will pay back many times over. A loop system is always active and can facilitate for everybody as it’s not limited to the number of receivers you have. With a minimum of maintenance it’s also the most cost effective solution. In environments where people are just passing through, a loop system is the only practical solution.
Shortcomings of FM and IR
Using FM or IR systems in public venues poses a variety of problems, both for the hearing aid user and for the owner of the venue.
The hearing aid user has to localize a possible supply of assistive listening devices, ask for help and thereby revealing that he or she has a hearing loss. During the whole event the user has to wear a conspicuous receiver/headset, which is not adjusted to his or her hearing loss, and that has to be returned after the event.
The owner of the venue on the other hand has to organize someone who hands out the receivers and collects them after use. The receivers have to be stored, checked, charged, cleaned, repaired and replaced which eventually will lead to considerable maintenance costs.
Induction loop systems can be used everywhere
In larger venues like stadiums and sport arenas, conference facilities and auditoriums, cinemas and theatres as well as in churches and other places of worship, the induction loop system is the optimal solution.
But also for smaller venues like meeting rooms and school classrooms a loop system can benefit the needs of the hearing impaired in a great way. In trains, trams and buses a loop system can also work with a high performance.
This is the international sign for hearing loop (t-coil). This symbol indicates that the room is equipped with a hearing loop to make the premises accessible for hearing aid users.