Recently the Canadian Hearing Report (Vol. 10, N0. 1 2015) wrote a series of articles on loop systems. In his article “Loud and Clear: Thoughts on Hearing Loops”, Tim Archer explains the loop system.
An audio induction loop is a system that allows audio sources to connect directly to a hearing aid through a built-in wireless telecoil, also known as a T-coil. The audio source can include a microphone, public address speaker system, stereo, or other input device.
Loop systems greatly improve a hearing aid wearer’s ability to hear in places where there’s lots of background noise and are typically located in halls, theatres, churches, and businesses. The T-coil picks up the sound source and filters out the background noise, which allows the listener to hear the sound source more clearly.
In her article, “Getting in the Loop”, Rose Simpson reported that assistive devices are legislated in Britain so hearing loops are used in shopping malls, schools, banks, places of entertainment and transportation such as buses. In Canada, loop systems are typically found in churches and halls and have been installed by volunteers. They are rarely used in businesses or public institutions, although some people use them in their living rooms at home for watching television.
In an attempt to increase public awareness and accessibility, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) has developed a strategy to educate the public about the benefits of loops systems and assistive listening devices (ALDs).
Robert Corbeil of the CHHA stated that Ontario has recently made changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), which requires businesses with more than 20 employees to improve services for clients with disabilities. British Columbia has also committed to increasing accessibility and decreasing barriers for this population.
The next time you are visiting a place of business, look for the international loop system symbol. The sign typically has the outline of an ear with “sound waves” emanating from it and the letter “T” for T-coil. By switching your hearing aid to the T-coil or telephone program, you will be able to hear a clear audio signal without the distracting background noise.
For further information on loop systems you can contact Living Sounds Hearing Centre at 780-488-8100 or check out the Canadian Hearing Report (Vol. 10, No.1, 2015)