If you are using or thinking about purchasing a hearing aid with a telecoil feature, you may be wondering about what it does. This tiny coil of wire may seem simple, but the advantages it can provide to people who use it are manifold. Read on to learn more about what a telecoil can do for your hearing.
Telecoils inside hearing aids detect magnetism. Unlike standard microphones and amplifiers, which amplify all sounds they encounter, a telecoil will only transmit sounds that are generated magnetically. Originally, the number one use for this function was to better hear phone conversations. Older phones used highly effective magnets in their speakers, generating magnetic signals that telecoil-equipped hearing aids could detect. Modern phones don’t naturally produce these signals, but many are equipped with additional electronics that make them telecoil compatible.
The telecoil feature isn’t just used in phones. Theaters, train stations, auditoriums and stadiums often use them within their Assistive Listening Systems. The venue may loan you a receiver or headset that will assist your hearing aid in picking up these signals. Users often say that the quality of the sound they acquire magnetically is superior to the sound quality carried through the air acoustically.
The way you use your telecoil will vary depending on the age, type and size of your hearing aid. Behind-the-ear hearing aids with their larger cases are the most likely to have the telecoil feature included since the additional components require some additional space. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and non-telecoil modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer hearing aids ,on the other hand, allow the wearer to alternate between program modes with the press of a button.
You may have learned about interference when using a telecoil: it can happen, but it’s rare. Interference is most commonly experienced as a buzzing sound and is generally associated with electronics such as fluorescent lights and CRT monitors.
The chance of interference is a small price to pay for the many benefits offered by telecoil-equipped hearing aids. Telecoils are generally inexpensive and definitely worth including in any hearing device.