What is a telecoil and what can it do? Maybe the hearing aid you are wearing has one or perhaps you’ve been looking for a new hearing aid and have seen the term used. As the name implies, a telecoil is a tiny coil of wire. It sounds simplistic, but it greatly improves the functionality of your hearing aid. This short article will explain the basics of what a telecoil is and how it works to improve your hearing ability.
A hearing aid with a telecoil can pick up on magnetic signals. Conventional microphones and amplifiers in hearing aids boost all the sounds that they encounter, but a telecoil only transmits magnetically generated sounds. Originally, the number one use for this function was to better hear telephone conversations. The speakers in older telephone handsets contained powerful magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore provide a clear transmission of only those sounds coming through the phone. Modern telephone technology has done away with these magnets, but many phones will include electronics which allow them to communicate with telecoil devices.
The telecoil feature isn’t just useful for phones. Many public venues, including movie theaters, stadiums and auditoriums, 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 detecting these signals. Users often report that the quality of the sound they pick up magnetically surpasses the sound quality carried through the air acoustically.
The size, type and age 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 technology require extra space. Older hearing aids can be switched between telecoil and non-telecoil modes using a physical switch on the device. Newer hearing aids are often equipped with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the device or on a remote control.
On rare occasions you might experience 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 fluorescent lights and CRT monitors.
The benefits of a telecoil-equipped hearing aid greatly outweigh the costs. This technology is a low cost way to enhance the capabilities of your hearing aid.