Your hearing aid might be equipped with a telecoil, or you might be considering one that has a telecoil installed. A telecoil is a tiny 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 are designed to pick up on magnetic signals. A telecoil will only transmit magnetically generated sounds, not all sounds the way the conventional microphone and amplifier do. The telecoil was first introduced to enhance listening ability on the telephone. The speakers in older telephone handsets included powerful magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore provide a clear transmission of only those sounds coming through the telephone. More recent telephones no longer use magnets in this way. But, because the telecoil feature is so popular among hearing aid users, many contemporary telephones contain additional electronics to make them telecoil compatible.
The telecoil function isn’t just used in phones. They are often used as part of Assistive Listening Systems in stadiums, auditoriums and movie theaters. These venues will often supply headsets or receivers that the hearing impaired can use with their own hearing aids to pick up the signals. Because these magnetic sounds are often higher quality than what you can hear acoustically, you may find that a telecoil can greatly enhance your enjoyment of an event.
The type, size and age of your hearing aid can impact the way you access and use your telecoil. This function is more common in larger hearing aids, including those with a case that fits behind the ear. A small switch that allows the user to flip into telecoil mode is most common on older hearing aids. Digital hearing aids will have programs for telecoil and microphone modes. Alternating between modes might be achieved by pressing a button on the hearing aid or on a remote control.
On rare occasions you might encounter some interference when using the telecoil setting on your hearing aid. Interference is typically experienced as a buzzing sound and is generally associated with electronics such as CRT monitors and fluorescent lights.
The chance of interference is a minimal price to pay for the many advantages offered by telecoil-equipped devices. You’ll find that the cost of a telecoil-enabled hearing aid is only somewhat higher and definitely worth the added capabilities.