Updated IEC standard sharpens demands on loop installations

15 August, 2015

The recently updated international standard for hearing loops, IEC 60118-4, sharpens the demands on both new and existing hearing loops. In the old standard, it was sufficient to reach 0dB (400mA/m) in program peaks at 1000Hz. In the updated standard this frequency has been increased to 1600Hz, to allow for a more full-bodied sound in the loop from more complex signals like music.

The new frequency demand results in an increase of the impedance. This means that the voltage requirement increases significantly and the required power more than doubles. To achieve the correct field strength level, a more powerful hearing loop driver is needed in many cases. Otherwise there is a great risk of insufficient magnetic field strength and lack of sound quality.

Both the perimeter loop drivers in the Univox PLS-X series and the new SLS drivers SLS-3 and SLS-5 soon to be launched, have an enhanced voltage capability at normal loop impedances and are especially suitable to fulfil the demands in the updated IEC standard.

The higher demand does not only affect new loop installations. Existing installations must also be checked and in some cases updated to comply with the updated standard. In our online planning tool Univox Loop Designer (ULD) both the old level of 1000Hz (”Announcements”) as well as the new level of 1600Hz (”IEC”) can be chosen in the ”Source bandwidth” field. The new IEC level of 1600Hz is set as default and shall normally be used. In projects where a lower sound quality can be accepted, for example in train stations or outside sport arenas, the lower frequency level can still be used.

If you have customers who are interested in planning their own loop projects with Univox Loop Designer, send an e-mail to support@edin.se including their full name, company and e-mail address and we will send an e-mail with their login information within short.

If you are unsure how to plan a certain project or have an installation you want to check, give us a call and let us help you!