Listening to someone speaking in a congested location with a lot of background noise can be challenging for even a seasoned hearing aid wearer. Concert halls, auditoriums, places of worship and theaters are especially tricky for the hearing impaired. Hearing loop systems offer a straightforward solution to this issue, making it easy for individuals with hearing aids to experience sermons, movies, live shows, and other presentations without distraction.
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. If the technicians who install the hearing loop system do their jobs correctly, anyone wearing a telecoil-equipped hearing aid will be able to hear the transmitted sounds clearly wherever they are in the room, without any “drop-out” or “dead spots”.
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. 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.
Though no hearing technology is perfect, hearing loop systems offer a huge service to many people, giving many listeners a much more enjoyable experience.