What is a telecoil and what does it do? Maybe your current hearing aid has one or perhaps you’ve been thinking about buying a new hearing aid and are wondering about this feature. This tiny coil of wire might appear simple, but the advantages it can provide to individuals who use it are manifold. Read on to learn more about what a telecoil can do for your hearing.
Telecoils are designed to pick up on magnetic signals. Unlike conventional microphones and amplifiers, which amplify all sounds they encounter, a telecoil will only transmit sounds that are created magnetically. The telecoil was first introduced to enhance listening ability on the telephone. Since older telephones used magnets in their speakers, telecoil devices could provide a clear transmission of a telephone conversation. Newer phones do not naturally create these signals, but many are equipped with additional electronics that make them telecoil compatible.
Telephones aren’t the sole use for a telecoil. They are frequently used as part of Assistive Listening Systems in auditoriums, stadiums and movie theaters. The venue may loan you a headset or a receiver that will assist your hearing aid in picking up these signals. Because these magnetic sounds are often higher clarity than what you can hear acoustically, you may find that a telecoil can significantly improve your enjoyment of an event.
The way you use your telecoil will vary depending on the size, type and age of your hearing aid. This function is more common in larger hearing aids, including those with a case that fits behind the ear. In older devices, a tiny switch is used to manually change between telecoil to microphone mode. Newer models are often pre-loaded with program modes, allowing the user to switch on their telecoil by pressing a button on the instrument or on a remote control.
On rare occasions you might encounter some interference when using the telecoil setting on your hearing aid. Interference is most commonly experienced as a buzzing sound and is generally associated with electronics such as CRT monitors and fluorescent lights.
The advantages of a telecoil-equipped hearing aid greatly outweigh the costs. Telecoils are generally inexpensive and definitely worth including in any hearing device.