If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans that suffer from hearing loss, then you know how hard the daily struggle can be. According to researchers, people who are hard of hearing often find that their hearing aids and cochlear implants are imperfect solutions to the problem, especially in crowded public spaces. Increasingly, however, more and more people are turning to hearing loops to help them overcome hearing difficulties.
What is a Hearing Loop?
Put simply, a hearing loop is a wire that encircles a particular space, such as a room inside your home, and is connected to a sound system. The wire transmits sound through an electromagnetic signal, and that signal is picked by the telecoil found inside of a hearing aid or cochlear implant.
The telecoils inside of hearing devices are basically wireless antennas. They pick up audio from the sound system and deliver them to the user. Although telecoils were originally used to increase the strength of the magnetic signals in telephones, this relatively new application of using them with hearing loops opens up a wide range of possibilities for people who are hard of hearing.
What Are the Benefits?
Perhaps the greatest benefit to hearing loops is that they’re easy to use. Once you have the hearing loop set up, you don’t need to purchase an additional transmitter or receiver; the technology that you need is already embedded inside of your hearing aid or cochlear implant. And people who use hearing loops report that they greatly enhance the overall effectiveness of their hearing devices.
Hearing loops are also incredibly convenient, both for the listeners as well the owners of public venues, such as theaters. Since no additional equipment is necessary, listeners don’t have to go through the awkward process of procuring listening devices from the venue, and venue owners don’t have to worry about keeping devices in stock.
What Are the Disadvantages?
The greatest disadvantage of hearing loops is their cost, which increases based on the size of the space. So while hearing loop technology is relatively inexpensive for home use, the cost is usually prohibitive for larger venues. Due to this prohibitive cost, hearing loops are fairly rare in public spaces, particularly in the United States.
As with most types of technology, it’s possible that hearing loops will come down in cost in the years to come. But in the meantime, the technology can be a great benefit to people who are hard of hearing, making their lives easier while inside their homes.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!