Looping Project and other assistive devices
Hearing Aids: T-Coils and Accessories
I was fortunate to attend the Get in the Loop discussion at the Falmouth library on 10/14/15. Bobbie requested that I provide some additional information to the group.
Looping is a great idea but one needs to know if your hearing aids can work with a loop. The history on looping goes back to when most behind-the-ear hearing aids had a telephone switch. That was when hearing aids were much bigger. The good news about current hearing aids is that they are getting smaller. The bad news for people who want to take advantage of loops is that the new smaller hearing aids may not have a built in telecoil (T-coil).
So what is a T-coil? It is a very tiny wire (see the attached picture below from www.hearingloop.com) in your hearing aid that will pick up a magnetic signal when it is close enough to it and strong enough. T-coils were originally used and are still used to assist with telephone communication. It is one of the first things manufacturers omit when they are trying to shrink the size of the hearing aids.
Now that is not completely bad news. You may be able to purchase an additional device that you would wear around your neck. This device would have a telephone coil built into it. This allows you to hear what is being broadcast on the loop. You may also have a built-in telephone coil in your hearing aid and not know it.
The other thing that has disappeared on hearing aids is the marking that tells you what a switch/button does (if you have a button). That is because in the advent of computer digital programming, your hearing aid professional can set the function of the switch to do many things or nothing. We set/program the hearing aid switch to do what we feel YOU need. You may have the ability to switch to a T-coil and not know it or you may have the ability to do so if you have that setting turned on by your hearing care professional.
So you need to remember that you need to communicate with your hearing care professional if you are having trouble with your hearing aids or if you don’t understand how to work your hearing aids. You should be comforted by the fact that more than likely the settings in your hearing aids can be changed or adjusted if you have trouble. Please remember that we are here to help you hear better but also that you are part of a team. You need to need to let us know if you have questions. After all our success is dependent upon your success!
So what do you do? First look at your hearing aid. Is there a T-coil setting? Second, look at the paperwork for your hearing aid: do you have an instruction sheet that explains different programs or memories? Is one of the programs described as a T-coil phone? If so then you are all set. If the paperwork says “autophone,” this is NOT a telecoil setting. Rather, it is a setting to reduce feedback when you use the phone. This type of setting will not help you hear a looped signal. Finally, talk to your hearing professional and ask if listening through a loop is possible with your hearing aids.
If you are in the process of purchasing new hearing aids, be sure to request the option of using a T-coil. If you are offered a Bluetooth-type of assistive device you will need to ask if it will work with a loop. The new Bluetooth devices and/or apps on your cell phone are fantastic but Bluetooth transmission and the signals coming from a loop are two different types of signals and NOT interchangeable.
I hope that this information is useful to you. If you have further questions please contact me at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital-Cape Cod. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandra S. Reams
AuD CCC-A Board Certified in Audiology
Our Oct. 24th meeting on Loops and Assistive devices was very well attended.
Catherine Shanahan, President of Shanahan Sound, has installed loops all over Massachusetts, including Boston Symphony Hall. Shaun Crossen gave an overview of the procedure. He said that it is easiest and best to install a loop during construction or reconstruction of a building, when the loop can be enclosed in the concrete floor. So plan ahead! Watch this space for more information. See slide shows on home page.
Marita, Joe and Bobbie attended Dr. Juliette Sterkens' presentation at the April Boston Chapter meeting. It was fascinating and rewarding. Some things we already knew, like the importance of the telecoil, but we hadn't realized that our problems in spreading the use of telecoils and loops, and other assistive devices, is shared by many others. Shanahan Sound has looped Boston Symphony Hall, yet cannot get that venue to advertise the fact. See Dr. Sterkens' slide presentation below and watch this space for more information.
Some Hearing Loop Vendor information www.hearingloop.org/vendors.htm
Juliette Sterkens_slides_ apr 11.15.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [16.9 MB]
Loop Info from the Providence Convention
Juliette Sterkens, Au.D. (in red) is chair loop person in Wisconsin and the HLAA Hearing Loop Advocate. She is amazing with what she has done in her area with looping in her schools, churches, libraries, homes. The website is www.loopwisconsin.com There is a huge amount of information on the website. You don't have to reinvent the wheel to explain looping.
She is talking to David Myers, Ph.D., who gave the keynote address.
Dr Meyers was the inventor of the loop in the US. He stresses everyone should have a telecoil- it's affordable and with every hearing aid, it should be inserted. He wants loops in all theaters- he says that in 98% theaters that are looped, the loops are not being used. He wants hearing loops in buses and subwayssubways. All NYC taxis are looped. He would like technology to work with all hearing aids and to remove the stigma of hearing aides and have them viewed as just like glasses. The loop has been recognized nationally through The Hearing Review magazine, Science Friday, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, (a front page story), National Geographic and the Washington Post. It's necessary to educate of the importance of the telecoil. He says we need better battery life, better use of hearing technology and telecoils with all hearing aids, not just the best hearing aides.
Note: if you are thinking about a hearing aid or telecoil, you must have a manual telecoil for a loop. Talk to your audiologist or hearing aid provider.
-- nonprofit informational website created and maintained by Hope College psychology professor David G. Myers and his assistant Kathryn Brownson. Myers is a hard of hearing person, the son of a hard of hearing mother who became completely deaf in her later life, and the author of a memoir of his experiences with hearing loss and hearing technologies (A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss, Yale University Press, 2000) and other books.
Hope College is located in Holland, Michigan. With its major college, church, and public venues all looped, Holland is a model community in serving the needs of people with hearing loss.
Our parent organization. Look for the hearing assistive technology information. Start by downloading the brochure below. The website is full of information. By joining the National organization and the Cape Cod chapter, you will make your voice heard.
brochure by the Hearing Loss Association of America on assistive listening devices, including telecoils. Open in pdf with Adobe Acrobat Reader or Apple Preview.
Adobe Acrobat document [116.4 KB]
Shanahan Sound in Lowell, MA is a nationwide installer of loop systems and other sound systems.
Download an informative paper on looping public and private buildings. Open in pdf with Adobe Acrobat Reader or Apple Preview.
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]
What is a Telecoil? by Widex http://blog.widex.com/post/83699151141/telecoil
Santa Barbara Chapter of HLAA made a short, very well done youtube video on the Value of a Loop System. Thanks for sharing. Click here: youtube.com/watch?v=KILspOYLmYA