Do you struggle to hear flight information at the airport or to hear punch lines at the theater, even when wearing your hearing aids? If so, it’s not surprising. The microphones on your hearing aids do a good job at picking up and amplifying sounds that are nearby, but not as good a job when you are in a large room such as a theater or other public space, where the people, announcements or sounds you want to hear are farther away.
Telecoils add new capabilities to a hearing device.
A telecoil (or t-coil) is a type of wireless technology that can be beneficial in these situations, and it is an available option in all but the very smallest hearing aid styles. Telecoil use is, however, limited to those venues that have loops installed in them. The number of public places and venues that are looped will vary across the United States and Europe. Looped areas will often display the symbol above.
How telecoils work.
Basically, a small coil of copper wire embedded in your hearing aid acts as a wireless antenna. In order for the telecoil to pick up the signal from a sound system at a theater or house of worship, for example, copper wiring must be installed or looped around the venue. When audio is routed through a sound system that is looped, the signal will be received by the telecoil in your hearing aid. The sound coming from the sound system or PA system will be heard more clearly as most unwanted background noise will not be amplified by your hearing aids. In addition, when using the telecoil, the sound quality of the signal coming from the PA system is just as good no matter where you are located in the room; front, back or somewhere in between. Other benefits of telecoils are that they use minimal battery power so you don’t have to worry about frequent battery changes, and users often report having to concentrate less during use.1,2
Turn on your telecoil and stay looped in.
To use your telecoil, you must manually change your hearing aid(s) to the telecoil (T) program, and you must also be sitting or standing inside a venue or area that has been looped. There is also a program option, (MT), on hearing aids that will allow you to hear through the telecoil while still being able to hear people near and around you through the hearing aid microphone.
Using your telecoil with a phone.
Telecoils are compatible with many cellphones and landlines. Telecoil-compatible cellphones will have a rating of T1 to T4. If you are planning to use a telecoil for mobile use, you should purchase a cellphone with a T3 or T4 rating. 3 Landlines that are compatible with telecoils will have HAC (Hearing-Aid Compatible) displayed on their label. 4
Would a telecoil add to your hearing experiences?
Telecoils are a great way to enhance your listening experience. It is an option in many hearing aids, including the Captivate miniRITE T R. If you think the capabilities of telecoil-equipped hearing devices would fit your work, leisure, and lifestyle needs, come in for an evaluation and let’s discuss a hearing solution that offers more clarity and versatility in a wider range of listening environments.
1. Kochkin S., Sterkens J., Compton-Conley C., Beck D., Taylor B., Kricos P., Caccavo M., Holmes A., Powers T. Consumer Perceptions of the Impact of Inductively Looped Venues on the Utility of Their Hearing Devices. Hearing Review. 2014:21(10):16-30.
2. Beck D. Inside the Research: Telecoils and Hearing Loops: An Interview with Juliette Sterkens, Au.D. Hearing Review. 2019:26(3):38-39.
3. FCC Website, “Hearing Aid Compatibility for Wireline and Wireless Telephones,” Published February 25, 2019.