Q and A
WHAT IS THE HEARING LOOP?
A hearing loop consists of a microphone, an amplifier and, in the place of a loudspeaker, a coil of wire placed around the room. Sound waves from the speaker’s voice going into the microphone are changed into an electric current, amplified, and then sent through the coil which emits a magnetic field in the room. The field is picked up by the “T” switch of a hearing aid, amplified, and converted back into sound. Hearing aid users sitting within the loop system can pick up the speaker’s voice or other auditory stimulus with a minimum of distortion and no background noise simply by turning on the “T” switch on their hearing aids. The loop is fully adaptable to television, radio, stereo, tape recorder or movie projector.
HEARING LOOPS ARE ALSO KNOWN AS:
• Audio Frequency Induction Loop Systems (AFILS).
• Audio Induction Loop System (AILS)
• Hearing Aid Loop System (HALS)
• Hearing Induction Loop System (HILS)
• Powered Audio Induction Loop System (PAILS)
• Hearing Loops are one type of Hearing Augmentation, the others being infra-red systems and FM systems.
WHAT IS BEHIND THE HEARING AID “T” SWITCH?
Most hearing aids and cochlear implants have a “T” or “MT” switch. The “T” switch stands for telecoil, is additional to the microphone, and can be switched on or off. (MT for combined microphone and telecoil.)
COCHLEAR IMPLANTS AND HEARING AIDS
The Hearing Loop system works with cochlear implants as well as with hearing aids, provided that it has a correctly polarised T Switch.
HEARING AUGMENTATION –
ALTERNATIVE ASSISTIVE LISTENING DEVICES
A Hearing Loop System is one type of Hearing Augmentation. The other types are Infra-Red and FM systems. These alternatives are an option, but tend to highlight the hearing impaired person within a group of people because the individual receivers are relatively large and visible. As one receiver is required for every user of the system, the costs quickly add up. Batteries must be kept fully charged, and loss or theft is another problem to be considered.
WHY ARE LOOPS PREFERRED?
The Hearing Loop system is preferred by hearing impaired clients as it requires no extra device which publicly labels the user as “deaf”. As this label is often applied by the community, any assistive device without an additional receiver or headphones appeals greatly to the user.
Secondly, problems arise in obtaining and using an infra-red or FM receiver, including inadequate equipment maintenance and battery issues.
Signs indicate which areas are fitted with loops, and staff are not tied up handing out, maintaining and collecting equipment. Loops, when correctly installed and tuned, are equal in quality and performance to infra-red and F.M. systems.