What is a hearing loop?
How Do Hearing Loops Work?
Information courtesy of Dr. Juliette Sterkens
Audiologist & Wisconsin Hearing Loop Advocate
A hearing loop helps people who use hearing aids that are equipped with T-coils to hear sound from a PA system directly and clearly in their hearing aids, because it reduces or cuts out the background noise.
A hearing loop provides a magnetic wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to the "T" (T-coil) setting. The loop system consists of a microphone to pick up the spoken word; an amplifier which processes the signal which is then sent through the final component; the loop cable, which is a wire placed around the perimeter of a room to act as an antenna that radiates the magnetic signal to the hearing aids.
When a hearing aid user selects the "T" setting, he or she can pick up the sound spoken into the PA system's microphone, instead of the hearing aids internal microphones. This results in improved speech understanding because the listener receives a clear signal without any background noise.
Digital hearing aids have significantly improved over the last decade, but they still do not restore hearing to normal. What most hearing aid users need is an improved signal-to-noise ratio (or SNR) of 10db or greater. This is difficult to attain in reverberant places, such as auditoriums or churches, resulting in the typical "I can hear but do not understand!" complaint. Hearing aids equipped with T-coils can help reduce this problem.