Hearing Loops: What They Are And How They Work

Hearing loop technology is now being implemented in more places than ever before. This incredible re-purposing of telephone technology has allowed people to hear better inside of public spaces. Since there is a growing community that is looking to get more adaptations in place for hearing impaired individuals, this inexpensive and easily-implemented technology is looked upon rather favorably. Since there are still so many who are unfamiliar with this tech, we will take a close look at what hearing loops are, where they are implemented, and how they work.

What Is A Hearing Loop?

The term “Hearing Loop” tends to throw many people off from discovering what this technology actually consists of. The loop refers to a cable that is run throughout a room so that it can pick up and transmits electromagnetic signals. The second part of the hearing loop is a hearing aid that is fitted with technology to pick up and translate electromagnetic signals. Together, these two parts make up the hearing loop and increase the hearing abilities of people in public spaces around the world.

Where Are They Used?

Currently, there is a push to have hearing loops implemented in just about every public building that is capable of affording them. Some lawmakers are even looking at a way to get federal funding for these hearing loops because they have shown such early success. Right now, you can mainly find hearing loops in meeting rooms, conventions centers and even in some parts of public transportation. These hearing loops allow people to hear all different manner of sounds without having to worry so much about signal interference and frequencies not working properly. Overall, there is a continuing push to see more buildings outfitted with hearing loops in the near future.

How Do They Work?

The process behind a hearing loop is not terribly difficult to understand. A hearing loop uses a microphone to pick up the sound and transform it into an electromagnetic signal. This signal travels through the cable of the hearing loop, and then transmits it into the open air in the same way that a radio works. From there, the sound needs to be picked up by a telecoil, a specific receiver that was initially used as a way to boost the transmitting power of a hand held telephone.
Most modern hearing aids have a telecoil built into them in the form of a t-switch. These can be manually turned on by the hearing device’s user. After it is activated, it can receive the signals put out by the hearing loop and translate them into sound that is able to be heard without as much background noise that ambient sound holds. This allows hearing impaired individuals to listen to speakers and clients in building settings much more effectively.

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