Hearing aids are remarkably effective at enhancing a person’s ability to hear, but when worn in a crowded environment they can quickly overwhelm the wearer with unwanted noise. This is especially true in boisterous settings such as concert halls, movie theaters, churches, and auditoriums. The good news is, hearing loops systems offer a solution to this problem, allowing hearing aid users to readily hear the sounds they wish to enjoy.
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. This allowed the wearer to easily listen to telephone conversations without distraction from 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). This audio input is routed to a hearing loop amplifier, which then feeds a current along a cable or series of cables that have been installed around the room. 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.
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.