What Is A Hearing Loop?
In its simplest form, a Hearing Loop consists of a copper wire which is installed around the perimeter of a room. The copper wire is connected to the loop amplifier which is fed with a signal from the venue’s public address system, sound system or microphone. The loop amplifier drives an audio current (not an electric current) through the loop which then generates a magnetic field in the area enclosed by the copper wire. Therefore, any hearing device (hearing aid or cochlear implant) properly set to its T-coil setting will receive the signal.
Why Should You Loop?
On March 15, 2012, the revised ADA regulation which mandates that places of public assembly provide assistive listening devices became effective. In addition, Title III of the ADA requires all businesses and agencies, both profit and non-profit, to provide auxiliary aids and services to the hearing impaired population. The three primary types of assistive devices which are accepted are FM Systems, Infrared Systems and Hearing Loop Systems. The only system that is universal and compatible with all hearing aids that have a T-coil is the Induction or Hearing Loop. FM Systems and Infrared Systems are usually manufacturer specific which means that the system is not always compatible with all hearing aids. Hence, these systems do not meet the needs of all hearing impaired individuals. The Hearing Loop will provide assistance to all hearing impaired individuals who are using a hearing aid with a T-coil that is turned on. The Hearing Loop is cost effective, meets ADA requirements and assures better hearing for individuals with hearing loss. In addition, the Hearing Loop is the preferred system because it eliminates hygienic concerns since there are no headsets involved.
Types of Hearing Loops
One type of loop is a Conventional Loop. The loop is designed and installed so that the entire area is part of that magnetic field, thus providing adequate amplification or field strength across the venue. Venues such as houses of worship, auditoriums, theatres, and meeting rooms will require this type of loop.
Another type of loop is a Counter Loop or Portable Loop. For example, a loop installed at a pharmacy counter will have a microphone installed on the service side of the counter which transmits the voice signal to the T-coil of the customer’s hearing aid. A pad is installed under the pharmacy counter which contains the copper wire that sends the signal to the amplifier.
In both instances, the customer will then receive the message clearly without background noise. These types of loops may also be utilized in doctor’s offices, banks, supermarkets, and ticket booths, for example.
Advantages of Commercial Hearing Loops
Long term cost is minimized because of low system maintenance.
Loop systems will be used more frequently since the system operates in conjunction with the hearing device’s T-coil, thus, eliminating individual stigma of having to request and return visible assistive listening units such as headsets.
The number of required portable receiver units is reduced when using a looped system.
Hygienic concerns are eliminated.
Loops operate on a universal frequency which is received by any T-coil device.
Where Are Hearing Loop Systems Installed?
This is a partial list of sites where hearing loops have been installed. The list is growing rapidly in the United States.
Houses of Worship
Theatres and Movies
Subway Ticket Booths
Senior Citizen Centers
Assisted Living Facilities
How Do You Know If A Venue Is Looped?
Simply look for the universal sign to determine if an area has a hearing loop system installed. The sign must have a “T” in the lower right corner to be classified as hearing loop signage.
To Get In The Loop Call Us:
(718) 641-3817 in New York City
(516) 731-5868 on Long Island
Harmony Hearing & Speech Center is a Proud Supporter of “Get in the Hearing Loop – A Joint Project of the Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Academy of Audiology
We are also members of the Manhattan Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America and proudly sit on their Looping committee