If you are wearing or interested in purchasing a hearing aid with a telecoil feature, you may be curious about what it does. A telecoil is a small coil of wire that can provide you with a number of benefits. Continue reading to learn more about what a telecoil can do for your ability to hear.
Telecoils inside hearing aids detect magnetism. A telecoil will only transmit magnetically created sounds, not all sounds the way the conventional microphone and amplifier do. The telecoil was first introduced to improve listening ability on the telephone. Older telephones used powerful magnets in their speakers, creating magnetic signals that telecoil-equipped hearing aids could recognize. Newer phones do not naturally create these signals, but many are equipped with supplemental electronics that make them telecoil compatible.
The telecoil function isn’t just used in phones. Many public venues, including movie theaters, auditoriums and stadiums, are equipped with Assistive Listening Systems that utilize telecoil technology. These venues will often provide headsets or receivers that the hearing impaired can use with their own hearing aids to pick-up the signals. Users often say that the clarity of the sound they pick up magnetically surpasses the sound quality carried through the air acoustically.
The way you use your telecoil will vary depending on the type, size and age of your hearing aid. Telecoils are more often found in larger hearing aids, such as behind-the-ear models. In older devices, a small switch is used to manually change between telecoil to microphone mode. Newer models ,on the other hand, allow the wearer to alternate between program modes with the press of a button.
You may have learned about interference when using a telecoil: it can happen, but it’s uncommon. The interference generally originates from fluorescent lights in the room or equipment such as CRT monitors. It will sound like buzzing which becomes louder as you get closer to the origin of the interference.
The advantages of a telecoil-equipped hearing aid vastly outweigh the costs. The cost of a telecoil-enabled hearing aid is only marginally higher and well worth the additional capabilities.