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Consumer's Guide to Telecoil in Hearing Aids

If you’re using or interested in buying a hearing aid with a telecoil feature, you may be wondering about what it does. This small coil of wire may seem simple, but the benefits it can provide to people who use it are manifold. This article explains the fundamentals of what a telecoil is and how it operates to improve your hearing ability.

Telecoils are designed to pick up on magnetic signals. In contrast to standard microphones and amplifiers, which amplify all sounds that hit them, a telecoil will only transmit sounds that are created magnetically. The original emphasis for this technology was to ease listening during phone conversations. The speakers in older telephone handsets included strong magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore provide a clear transmission of only those sounds arriving through the phone. Modern telephones no longer use magnets in this way. But, because the telecoil function is so popular among hearing aid users, many modern phones contain additional electronics to make them telecoil compatible.

The telecoil function isn’t just useful for telephones. Many public sites, including movie theaters, auditoriums and stadiums, and churches are equipped with Assistive Listening Systems that employ telecoil technology. The venue may loan you a headset or a receiver that will assist your hearing aid in picking up these signals. In some cases, the magnetic sounds you receive will be a higher clarity than what you could experience acoustically through just your hearing aid microphones.

The way you use your telecoil will vary depending on the type, age and size of your hearing aid. Telecoils are more often seen in larger hearing aids, such as those that rest behind the ear. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and microphone modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer hearing aids, on the other hand, allow you to alternate between program modes with the press of a button or use of an accessory.

Interference may be an issue when using a telecoil, but it is not common. The interference typically comes from fluorescent lights in the room or equipment such as certain computer monitors. It will sound like buzzing which gets louder as you get closer to the source of the interference. The occasional interference is the only disadvantage to telecoils. Otherwise, they are really wonderful additions that offer many added benefits…plus this technology is an affordable way to enhance the capabilities of your hearing aid.

 

Please contact us if you have any further questions regarding your hearing aid’s telecoil compatibility! For more information visit the Hearing Loss Association of America with link: https://www.hearingloss.org/hearing-help/technology/hat/hearing-loop-technology/