Regardless of hearing capacity, hearing in public spaces can be challenging at times. This includes noisier settings like airports, shopping centers, classrooms, etc. Hearing in these environments can be particularly difficult for people with hearing loss. Fortunately, there is quite a range of hearing support that is designed to maximize hearing in different environments.
The most common type of hearing support is hearing aids, electronic devices that are worn in or behind the ear and help process sound. In addition to hearing aids, there are other types of hearing technology referred to as assistive listening devices (ALD). A common type of ALD is hearing loops which support hearing in public spaces, creating greater accessibility.
How do hearing loops work?
Hearing loops are sound systems that work with hearing aids to enhance sound in a public space. This helps with sound quality in environments with background noise which can make it challenging to hear. Hearing loop technology works by:
- A microphone or other source of sound in a public space emits sound waves which are sent to an amplifier.
- The amplifier analyzes the soundwaves and sends them through the loop cable. This is a wire that lines the perimeter of the space which creates a magnetic signal that can be accessed.
- Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and headphones can tap into this magnetic signal by enabling the telecoil (T) setting on the device. This allows the device to pick up the signals directly.
Hearing aids can receive the signals and adjust them in specific ways that meet the hearing needs of the wearer. Hearing aids are programmed (by your hearing healthcare provider) with settings that allow them to manipulate signals to represent sound in ways that you can hear and process with greater ease.
Benefits of Hearing Loops
Hearing loops offer several benefits for people who rely on hearing technology. It also meets ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations which require hearing accommodations in public venues. Major benefits of hearing loops include:
- Enhanced sound quality. Hearing aids receive sound directly from the hearing loop. This reduces background noise which can be especially loud in larger public settings. In addition to background noise, hearing loop technology reduces feedback noise. Hearing aids are then able to customize the sound to the specific needs of the wearer. This enhances sound quality and increases speech and sound comprehension.
- Simple to use. Using hearing loop technology requires minimal work. All people have to do is enable the telecoil feature on their device. This simple step allows people to easily and quickly access this technology which readily maximizes hearing.
- Accessibility. Hearing loop technology is incredibly versatile. It can be used in various types of environments – banks, theaters, pharmacies, etc. A broad range of spaces can become readily accessible for people with hearing impairments. It also meets ADA requirements and is an easy way for places to be more inclusive.
- Discreet. Accessing hearing loop technology is simple and does not require additional equipment or support. People can access it independently and quickly which makes it inconspicuous. This supports greater participation and inclusion.
Hearing loops offer seamless hearing and communication across the greatest amount and type of environments. Also, an unlimited amount of people can access this technology highlighting a cost-effective hearing solution. This expands accessibility and allows people to move through a range of spaces with their hearing supported.
How to Access Hearing Loop Technology
Using hearing loop technology can transform your hearing experiences in countless environments. This technology is intended to support your hearing health so accessing it is important! If you want to learn more about hearing loops and how you can maximize their use, consult your hearing healthcare provider. Be sure that your hearing aids or hate hearing aids you invest in have the telecoil feature which is all that is required to utilize hearing loop technology. Your hearing healthcare provider can also discuss the settings on your hearing aid that adjust sound to meet your needs. Learning about how you can maximize your hearing aids and hearing loop technology can not only strengthen your hearing capacity but also contribute to better communication. Contact us to learn more!