Any time a hearing aid wearer tries to listen to a speaker in a crowded location, the levels of background noise can easily become daunting. Large, open areas such as audotoriums, places of worship, concert halls and movie theaters can be particularly troublesome. Fortunately, hearing loops systems provide a solution to this problem, permitting hearing aid wearers to readily hear the sounds they wish to enjoy.
Hearing loop systems work together with the telecoil feature found in many hearing aids. Originally, the telecoil feature was used primarily to pick up on magnetic signals created by telephones. People who had a telecoil could enjoy a clear phone conversation without having to worry about 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 has several components, starting with some type of audio input (usually from a dedicated microphone feed or a public address 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. Properly installed loops do not have dead zones, which means that anyone with a telecoil who is inside the loop can pick up on the transmitted audio.
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. The fact that hearing loop systems are reliable, relatively easy to set up and work with the telecoils already installed in many of today’s hearing aids makes them popular with facility managers as well as with guests. They also provide a simpler, more discreet listening experience, since they don’t require the user to wear any additional equipment.
While hearing loop systems require some initial investment in terms of equipment and set-up, they are a proven way for venue owners and managers to offer a high-quality listening experience to as many visitors as possible.