Telecoil-Enabled Hearing Aids: The Way They Operate and What They May Mean For You

Blogging about hearing lossYour hearing aid might be equipped with a telecoil, or you might be considering one that has a telecoil built in. As the name implies, a telecoil is a small coil of wire. It sounds simplistic, but it greatly improves the functionality of your hearing aid. This short article will explain the basics of what a telecoil is and how it operates to improve your hearing ability.

Telecoils inside hearing aids detect magnetism. Unlike standard microphones and amplifiers, which amplify all sounds they encounter, a telecoil will only transmit sounds that are generated magnetically. The initial focus for this technology was to improve listening during phone conversations. The speakers in older telephone handsets included powerful magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore provide a clear transmission of only those sounds coming through the phone. Newer phones don’t naturally produce these signals, but many are equipped with supplemental electronics that make them telecoil compatible.

The telecoil function isn’t just useful for phones. They are frequently used in conjunction with Assistive Listening Systems in stadiums, auditoriums and movie theaters. The venue might loan you a receiver or headset that will assist your hearing aid in picking up these signals. Users often report that the clarity of the sound they acquire magnetically is superior to the sound quality transmitted through the air acoustically.

The size, type and age of your hearing aid can influence the way you access and use your telecoil. Telecoils are more often found in larger hearing aids, such as those that rest behind the ear. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and non-telecoil modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer models are often pre-loaded with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the instrument or on a remote control.

On rare occasions you might encounter some interference when using the telecoil setting on your hearing aid. 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 benefits of a telecoil-equipped hearing aid vastly outweigh the costs. This technology is a low cost way to enhance the capabilities of your hearing aid.

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