Hearing aids are extremely effective at enhancing a person’s ability to hear, but when worn in a crowded atmosphere they can quickly bombard the listener with unwanted noise. Auditoriums, concert halls, theaters, and places of worship are especially tricky for the hard of hearing. Hearing loop systems offer a straightforward solution to this dilemma, making it very easy for individuals with hearing aids to enjoy movies, sermons, concerts, and other oral presentations without distraction.
Hearing loops are a relatively simple bit of technology that works in conjunction with the telecoils that are installed in many modern hearing aids. Originally, the telecoil feature was used primarily to pick up on magnetic signals created by telephones. This allowed the wearer to easily listen to telephone conversations without distraction from background noise. Hearing loop systems use this same concept but on a larger scale, creating magnetic signals that anyone in the area with a telecoil can pick up on.
The first part of a hearing loop system is an audio input, often from a PA system or a dedicated microphone feed. This audio signal is fed into a hearing loop amplifier, which drives a current through a cable (or series of cables) looped around the room. Properly installed loops do not have dead zones, which means that anyone with a telecoil who is inside the loop can pick up on the transmitted audio.
While newer technology such as FM transmission neck loops are becoming more established among many establishments, hearing loop systems can still offer a number of advantages to the hard of hearing. Their convenience alone makes them a popular choice among venues and patrons alike. Listeners also appreciate their more subtle nature, which allows them to enjoy a concert, presentation, or worship service without the self-consciousness that can accompany wearing a neck loop.
Though no hearing technology is perfect, hearing loop systems offer a huge service to many people, giving many listeners a much more enjoyable experience.