A telecoil is a small, magnetic device, which can be found inside most behind-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants, that enables hearing aids and implants to pick up sound signals directly from other electronic devices.
Telecoil can be used with:
- public address systems
- televisions, and
- any other amplified equipment
Watch this video and read below for more information about this assistive technology.
How telecoil works
A room or area must be ‘looped’ – which means a wire runs around the room, carrying the electronic signal from the device you want to listen to. Inside the looped area the telecoil will pick up the electronic signal and convert it into a sound, which is then processed and amplified by the hearing aid – a bit like picking up a wireless signal directly into your hearing aid.
The advantage of the telecoil is that the sound does not have to travel through the air but goes directly into the hearing aid. This means that you only hear the sound that is coming through the telecoil and you are not disturbed by any extraneous noise in the area around you.
Where can you use a telecoil?
Many meeting halls, churches, conference facilities and other public spaces are fitted with loop systems. Look for the Hearing Access logo. Some train station platforms and airports have this system installed so that you can hear the PA system clearly without being distracted by all the noise around you.
It is also possible to use it with some telephones, which have a strong magnetic field around the ear piece. At home and at some theatres you can use special neck loops, which pick up the TV or other sound systems and deliver it to a loop around your head and hearing aids. Always look for the Hearing Access sign.
How do you use a telecoil?
First, ensure that your hearing aid does have a telecoil fitted. Most behind the ear hearing aids have them and most cochlear implants have them. However, they are less common in the ‘in-the-ear’ hearing aids. Next, check with your hearing aid provider that the telecoil has been activated. This is done when the aid is programmed for you, but can be done at any time after that, provided the telecoil is available.
Once you know your telecoil is working properly, you can use it whenever you see the Hearing Access sign. Ensure you are sitting or standing in the area covered by the signage and press the program button on your hearing aid. Your audiologist will be able to tell you which program number you need. Once you are in telecoil mode all the sound will come direct to your aid. Once you leave the looped area remember to turn your aid back to normal microphone use.