What Are Telecoil Hearing Aids?
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A telecoil is an assistive technology used in hearing aids to enhance the user’s ability to hear in certain situations. They are made of small copper coils that funnel sounds with magnetic fields directly into the hearing device. Including this technology in a hearing aid can drastically impact how people with hearing loss experience a variety of environments and situations. Most modern hearing aids still use telecoil technology, but some manufacturers have removed the coils to reduce the size of their devices.
How Does Telecoil Work?
Telecoil technology works by picking up magnetic fields in telephones and other devices and delivering the sound directly to the hearing aid’s receiver. Without a telecoil, the sound generated by a telephone’s speaker may not be loud enough to reach the hearing aid microphone, making it difficult for users to hear on the phone. The telecoil bypasses the microphone and amplifies the sound to the appropriate level.
Using telecoil technology in a hearing aid is easy. With a manual telecoil, the user simply has to press a button on their hearing aid or use a remote control that comes with the device when they want to use the phone. Some modern hearing aids come with auto-coils that automatically detect the telephone when it’s close to the user’s ear. Telecoil hearing aids are compatible with telephones that have a T-Rating, which measures the strength of the coil.
Are There Other Uses for Telecoils?
Telecoil hearing aids have benefits beyond telephones. In some public spaces, including theaters, churches and other meeting areas, sound engineers can set up a loop system. This is when a sound system is hooked up to a large coil that generates a strong magnetic field that can reach any hearing aid in the area with a telecoil. This is a great solution for large spaces that may normally make hearing difficult for people with hearing impairments.
Does My Hearing Aid Have Telecoil?
There are several ways to discover if a hearing aid has a telecoil. In some cases, the product name will include telecoil or a “T” to indicate telecoil. The feature may also be listed within the product description. If telecoil is not listed in these locations, the product manual should indicate whether the feature is present, as it should contain instructions for use. Users who are still not sure if their hearing aid has telecoil technology can contact their audiologist or the manufacturer directly.