HEARING TIPS

Users Guide to Telecoil Technology in Digital Hearing Aids

Your hearing aid may be equipped with a telecoil, or you may be considering a model that has a telecoil built in. A telecoil is a tiny coil of wire that offers a number of advantages. This article will explain the fundamentals of what a telecoil is and how it operates to improve your hearing ability.

Telecoils are designed to detect magnetic signals. A telecoil will only transmit magnetically generated sounds, not all sounds the way the conventional microphone and amplifier do. Initially, the number one use for this function was to better hear phone conversations. The speakers in older telephone handsets included strong magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore offer a clear transmission of only those sounds arriving through the telephone. Newer phones no longer use magnets in this way. However, because the telecoil feature is so popular among hearing aid users, many modern phones contain additional electronics to make them telecoil compatible.

The telecoil function isn’t just used in telephones. They are frequently used as part of Assistive Listening Systems in movie theaters, stadiums and auditoriums. The venue might loan you a headset or a receiver that will assist your hearing aid in detecting these signals. Because these magnetic sounds are often higher clarity than what you can hear acoustically, you may find that a telecoil can significantly improve your enjoyment of an event.

The abilities of the telecoil inside a hearing aid will vary with the type, size and age of the instrument. Telecoils are more commonly found in larger hearing aids, such as behind-the-ear models. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and microphone modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer models are often equipped with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the device or on a remote control.

You may have learned about interference when using a telecoil: it can happen, but it’s rare. You may notice a buzzing sound that grows louder the closer you get to an older fluorescent light, a CRT computer monitor, or another cause of interference.

The possibility of interference is a small price to pay for the many advantages offered by telecoil-equipped hearing aids. Telecoils are generally inexpensive and definitely worth including in any hearing device.

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