Hearing aids are remarkably good at improving a person’s ability to hear, but when used in a crowded atmosphere they can easily bombard the wearer with unnecessary noise. This is especially true in noisy venues such as movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums and churches. Hearing loop systems offer a simple solution to this dilemma, making it very easy for people with hearing aids to experience sermons, movies, live shows, and other presentations without distraction.
Hearing loops are a relatively simple bit of technology that works in conjunction with the telecoils that are installed in many modern hearing aids. The original purpose of these telecoils was to work with the magnetic fields created by telephone hardware. People who had a telecoil could enjoy a clear phone conversation without having to worry about background noise. Hearing loop systems use this same concept but on a larger scale, creating magnetic signals that anyone in the area with a telecoil can pick up on.
The first part of a hearing loop system is an audio input, often from a PA system or a dedicated microphone feed. 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”.
While newer technology such as FM transmission neck loops are becoming more established among many establishments, hearing loop systems can still offer a number of advantages to the hard of hearing. The fact that hearing loop systems are reliable, relatively easy to set up and work with the telecoils already installed in many of today’s hearing aids makes them popular with facility managers as well as with guests. 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.
Though no hearing technology is perfect, hearing loop systems offer a huge service to many people, giving many listeners a much more enjoyable experience.