What is a Hearing Loop?

A hearing loop is a system, installed in a venue such as an auditorium or sanctuary, that enables users of hearing aids to hear clearly and comfortably without hearing background noise and without using any special equipment.  The components of a hearing loop are the loop amplifier, which receives an audio signal from the venue sound system, and the loop wire, which transmits the signal clearly to users of hearing aids in the venue.

The loop system

An audio frequency induction loop (hearing loop) system gets its name from the configuration of an installed system, which is, in its simplest form, a wire surrounding (looping) a room usually in or under the floor.  Both ends of the wire that is looped around the room are plugged into a special type of amplifier, and the amplifier is connected to an audio source.  The audio source can be the venue system or simply a microphone.  The amplifier sends the sound as an electric current through the loop wire.  The electric current in the loop wire transmits a signal that can be received by a hearing instrument in the room.

The hearing instrument

Inside most hearing instruments (hearing aids or cochlear implants) is a tiny coil of copper wire called a telecoil or T-coil.  The T-coil receives the signal transmitted from the loop wire. If the user of the hearing instrument switches the instrument’s input mode from "M" (for microphone) to "T" (for T-coil), then the hearing instrument receives the signal from the loop wire and converts it into clear comfortable sound for the user.  When in T-coil mode, the user has a direct, clear, wireless connection with the venue sound system and does not hear distracting, surrounding noises.

For someone with hearing loss but no hearing aid, a loop receiver with headphones or earbuds provides the user with clear sound from the loop.

Summary

In summary, the hearing loop is the system (the amplifier and loop wire) installed in a venue.  The hearing loop transmits directly to the T-coil that is built inside most hearing aids and cochlear implants providing clear comfortable sound -- without background noise -- to the user of the hearing instrument.


Illustration

Click here for an Illustration of How a Hearing Loop System Works

 

 

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