If you are using or interested in purchasing a hearing aid with a telecoil function, you may be wondering about what it does. A telecoil is a tiny coil of wire that can provide you with a number of benefits. Continue reading to discover more about what a telecoil can do for your hearing.
Telecoils are designed to pick up on magnetic signals. Conventional microphones and amplifiers in hearing aids amplify all the sounds that they encounter, but a telecoil only transmits magnetically generated sounds. The original emphasis for this technology was to ease listening during telephone conversations. Since older phones used magnets in their speakers, telecoil devices could offer a clear transmission of a phone conversation. Contemporary phone technology has done away with these magnets, but many telephones will include electronics which allow them to communicate with telecoil devices.
The telecoil function isn’t just used in telephones. Many public venues, including movie theaters, stadiums and auditoriums, are equipped with Assistive Listening Systems that employ telecoil technology. You may find that a venue will offer you a headset to assist in transmitting these signals. Because these magnetic sounds are generally higher clarity than what you can hear acoustically, you may find that a telecoil can significantly enhance your enjoyment of an event.
The abilities of the telecoil inside a hearing aid will vary with the size, type and age of the instrument. Telecoils are more commonly found in larger hearing aids, such as behind-the-ear models. A small switch that allows the wearer to flip into telecoil mode is most common on older devices. Newer hearing aids are often pre-loaded with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the instrument or on a remote control.
You may have learned about interference when using a telecoil: it can happen, but it’s uncommon. Interference is typically experienced as a buzzing sound and is usually associated with electronics such as fluorescent lights and CRT monitors.
The possibility of interference is a minimal price to pay for the many benefits offered by telecoil-equipped devices. This technology is an affordable way to enhance the capabilities of your hearing aid.