Hearing-aid Friendly Venues

Every city has its challenges for hearing impaired people, but oftentimes theatres, museums, places of worship and public buildings will have installed induction loops that can make it significantly easier for you to hear, if you have hearing aids equipped with telecoils. Not all hearing aids have telecoils. Let’s explain here how telecoils work and how they can help you hear better.

For individuals with hearing aids, T-coils can significantly improve their listening experience, especially in public buildings or venues that have installed loop systems. In this article, we will explain what a T-coil is and how it works with hearing aids.

A T-coil, also known as a telecoil or induction coil, is a small coil of wire that is placed inside a hearing aid.

When a hearing aid user turns on their T-coil, the coil detects magnetic signals and converts them into sound signals that the hearing aid can amplify. T-coils were first developed in the early 20th century to help people with hearing aids communicate over the telephone, which used magnetic signals to transmit sound.

Nowadays, T-coils are used in a variety of settings, including public buildings, theatres, and places of worship, where loop systems have been installed. A loop system is a sound system that transmits audio signals wirelessly to the T-coils in hearing aids. The loop system is composed of an amplifier that processes the audio signal and a loop of wire that is installed around the room. The wire loop acts as an antenna that sends out a magnetic field, which is picked up by the T-coils in the hearing aids.

When a hearing aid user enters a room with a loop system, they can activate their T-coil to connect directly to the loop and receive the audio signal without interference from background noise. This results in a clearer and more precise listening experience, as the sound is transmitted directly to the hearing aid and amplified based on the user's individual hearing needs.

facility hearing related sign

You’ll know that a building supports telecoil when you see a plaque like the one shown above: they both feature the international symbol of access for hearing loss (i.e., a blue square with a white outline of an ear in the centre, and a white line crossing through the ear from the bottom left to the top right corner). Often, you’ll also see a capital T in the bottom right corner.

Practically speaking, what does it really mean to have a telecoil in your hearing aids? Imagine a guide is speaking to you through a microphone in a museum or imagine an actor is performing a play on a stage. If that museum or theatre is equipped with an induction loop, and if your hearing aids are equipped with telecoils, then that guide’s voice or that actor’s voice can be transmitted efficiently to your hearing aids, giving you crisp, clear sound. Ta-da! Suddenly, your hearing aid works like a wireless speaker!

In summary, a T-coil is a small coil of wire that is placed inside a hearing aid to detect magnetic signals and convert them into sound signals that can be amplified by the hearing aid. T-coils are used in conjunction with loop systems, which transmit audio signals wirelessly to the T-coils in hearing aids. The use of T-coils and loop systems can significantly improve the listening experience for individuals with hearing aids in public buildings, theatres, and places of worship.