Your hearing aid may be equipped with a telecoil, or you may be interested in one that has a telecoil built in. This tiny coil of wire may seem simple, but the benefits it can provide to people who use it are quite substantial. Keep reading to get a solid idea of what this simple device can do for you.
A hearing aid with a telecoil can detect magnetic signals. A telecoil will only transmit magnetically generated sounds, not all sounds the way the conventional microphone and amplifier do. The telecoil was initially introduced to improve listening ability on the phone. The speakers in older telephone handsets contained powerful magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore offer a clear transmission of only those sounds arriving through the telephone. Contemporary telephone technology has done away with these magnets, but many telephones will include electronics that allow them to communicate with telecoil devices.
The telecoil feature isn’t just useful for telephones. They are frequently used as part of Assistive Listening Systems in auditoriums, stadiums and movie theaters. These venues will often supply headsets or receivers that the hearing impaired can use with their own hearing aids to pick-up the signals. Because these magnetic sounds are often higher clarity than what you can hear acoustically, you may find that a telecoil can greatly improve your enjoyment of an event.
The capabilities of the telecoil inside a hearing aid will vary with the age, type and size of the instrument. Telecoils are more often seen in larger hearing aids, such as those that rest behind the ear. In older devices, a small switch is used to manually change between telecoil to microphone mode. Digital hearing aids will have programs for telecoil and non-telecoil modes. Alternating between modes might be achieved by pressing a button on the hearing aid or on a remote control.
Interference may be an issue when using a telecoil, but it is generally rare. The interference generally originates from equipment such as CRT monitors or from fluorescent lights in the room. It will sound like buzzing which gets louder as you get closer to the origin of the interference.
The rare interference is the only downside to telecoils. They really are fantastic upgrades that offer many added benefits. Telecoils are generally inexpensive and definitely worth including in any hearing device.