Get in the Loop

As I was going through the drive-thru for lunch the other day, I couldn’t help but struggle to communicate with the attendant. After several attempts, I assumed my double cheeseburger with no onions and a side of fries was successfully ordered. Inevitably, the meal I received was not what I ordered. Miscommunications like this occur all the time. Can you imagine if I had a hearing loss and tried to use this same form of communication? This situation is just one of many that individuals with hearing loss deal with each day.

Assistive listening systems can provide support in making difficult listening situations easier, regardless of hearing ability. Unfortunately, some of these systems can be very expensive. One system that has proven beneficial, affordable and easy to use is an induction loop system.

What is a Loop System?

A basic loop system consists of a wire loop placed around the perimeter of an area that is attached to some sort of amplifier. When a signal is presented through the amplifier, a magnetic current is developed, stimulating any devices in the room that may react to magnetic energy, specifically telecoil or “t-coil” systems. Individuals with hearing aids or cochlear implants that are equipped with a t-coil can directly receive this signal, making for a more comfortable listening experience. The greatest feature of the induction loop system is that most hearing aids or cochlear implants are already equipped with the t-coil and just require a push of a button to be “looped in.”

Loop systems can serve individuals in churches, theatres, auditoriums, meeting rooms, airports, ticket windows and even home media rooms.  This system can also be advantageous to individuals who do not have a diagnosed hearing loss, but may experience some difficulties in difficult listening environments. The cost of a loop system can range anywhere from $150 for an at-home system to $2,000 – $8,000 to install into a large meeting facility or entertainment center. The feature most needed in making this system successful is the “looping” of public facilities to make sound more accessible to those with hearing loss.

Getting in the Hearing Loop and Loop America have become initiatives to bring America back up to speed with many European countries that are making countless public facilities more accessible to individuals with hearing loss. If you would like more information on induction loop systems, contact our clinic.

By Dr. Matthew Rumsey

Audiologist at Avera Sacred Heart

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