If you are wearing or thinking about purchasing a hearing aid with a telecoil feature, you may be curious about what it does. As its name suggests, a telecoil is a tiny coil of wire. It sounds simplistic, but it greatly enhances the functionality of your hearing aid. Read on to discover more about what a telecoil can do for your hearing.
A hearing aid with a telecoil can recognize 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. The speakers in older telephone handsets included strong magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore offer a clear transmission of only those sounds coming through the phone. Modern phones no longer use magnets in this way. But, because the telecoil function is so popular among hearing aid users, many modern phones contain supplemental electronics to make them telecoil compatible.
The usage of telecoils began with the telephone, but now they are used in many other ways. Theaters, stadiums, train stations and auditoriums often use them within their Assistive Listening Systems. You may find that a venue will loan you a headset to assist in transmitting these signals. In most cases the magnetic sounds you receive will be a higher quality than what you could experience acoustically.
The way you use your telecoil will vary depending on the size, age and type of your hearing aid. Telecoils are more often found in larger hearing aids, such as those that rest behind the ear. A small switch that allows the wearer to flip into telecoil mode is most common on older hearing aids. Newer models 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.
You may have learned about interference when using a telecoil: it can happen, but it is rare. Interference is most commonly experienced as a buzzing sound and is generally associated with electronics such as CRT monitors and fluorescent lights.
The chance of interference is a minimal price to pay for the many advantages offered by telecoil-equipped devices. Telecoils are ordinarily inexpensive and definitely worth including in any hearing device.