If you are wearing or thinking about purchasing a hearing aid with a telecoil feature, you might be curious about what it does. As the name suggests, a telecoil is a tiny coil of wire. It sounds simple, but it greatly enhances the functionality of your hearing aid. This short article will explain the basics of what a telecoil is and how it operates to improve your hearing ability.
Telecoils inside hearing aids detect magnetism. Standard microphones and amplifiers in hearing aids amplify all the sounds that they encounter, but a telecoil only transmits magnetically created sounds. Originally, the number one use for this function was to better hear telephone conversations. Because older telephones used magnets in their speakers, telecoil devices could offer a clear transmission of a telephone conversation. Contemporary telephone technology has eliminated these magnets, but many phones will include electronics which allow them to communicate with telecoil devices.
Phones are not the only use for a telecoil. Theaters, stadiums, train stations and auditoriums often use them as part of their Assistive Listening Systems. The venue may loan you a receiver or headset that will assist your hearing aid in detecting these signals. Because these magnetic sounds are often higher clarity than what you can hear acoustically, you may find that a telecoil can significantly enhance your enjoyment of an event.
The size, age and type of your hearing aid can impact the way you access and use your telecoil. Behind-the-ear hearing aids with their larger cases are the most likely to have the telecoil feature included since the additional components require some additional space. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and microphone modes using a physical switch on the device. Digital hearing aids will have programs for telecoil and microphone modes. Alternating between modes might be accomplished by pressing a button on the hearing aid or on a remote.
On rare occasions you might encounter some interference when using the telecoil setting on your hearing aid. The interference generally comes from equipment such as CRT monitors or from fluorescent lights in the room. It will sound like buzzing which becomes louder as you get closer to the origin of the interference.
The advantages of a telecoil-equipped hearing aid greatly outweigh the costs. This technology is a low cost way to enhance the abilities of your hearing aid.