Paying attention to someone speaking in a congested location with a lot of background noise can be challenging for even a seasoned hearing aid wearer. This is especially true in noisy settings such as concert halls, movie theaters, churches, and auditoriums. Hearing loop systems provide a straightforward solution to this issue, making it very easy for individuals with hearing aids to enjoy sermons, movies, concerts, and other oral presentations without distraction.
Hearing loop systems take advantages of the telecoil feature that is included in most hearing aids. Originally, the telecoil feature was used primarily to pick up on magnetic signals created by telephones. This allowed the wearer to easily listen to telephone conversations without distraction from background noise. Hearing loop systems use this same concept but on a larger scale, creating magnetic signals that anyone in the area with a telecoil can pick up on.
The first part of a hearing loop system is an audio input, often from a PA system or a dedicated microphone feed. 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”.
There are newer forms of technology (such as FM transmission neck loops) that have established themselves in many venues, but audio loops are still common and offer a number of advantages. 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.
Despite their initial set-up cost, hearing aid loops are an efficient and effective way to make sure all visitors to a venue are able to enjoy their experience.