where can I buy one?
North American vendors
offer equipment that ranges from:
- small portable and commercial window-counter installations
- systems for home TV rooms to
- larger area systems.
Portable receiving units, akin to those for infrared and
FM systems, can be purchased for those without telecoil-equipped
aids. But with more and more people receiving sound broadcast
by their own hearing aids, there will be a reduced need to
purchase, maintain, and replace such units, which helps make
loop systems cost-effective.
Some installations, including for many older wooden structures,
are easy installations and, with volunteer assistance in running
wires, needn't cost much. For optimal performance in institutional
settings, professional installation (and design, if needed)
is highly recommended. Metal in the floor, walls, and ceilings,
for example, may necessitate special system design and extra
amplification. Adjacent rooms may require systems designed
to prevent spillover of sound from one room to the next.
For optimum results, the wires are typically installed not
at ear level but rather either below the listener (under a
carpet edge, a baseboard, or a floor) or above the listener.
The typical professionally installed loop system is unseen
by the audience and does not affect the venue's architecture
Home loop systems, some of which put the loop in a thin pad
that simply slips under a cushion, are available in the USA
from $165 and up. Using a Radio
Shack phone connector with built-in on/off switch,
most can receive telephone input as well, enabling improved
Typical costs range from $2000 to $8000 for small to medium-sized
worship centers, but more for very large facilities with lots
of embedded steel. Most congregations' loop systems will cost
no more than what one of their members would pay for a pair
of today's high tech hearing aids.
When comparing loop system costs to alternative listening
systems, consider what counts: cost per user. (A system
that costs slightly more, but has many more eventual users,
will be most cost-effective.) Also, loop systems can be used
without the additional expense of purchasing and maintaining
portable receivers and headsets (although many venues will
purchase one or more loop receiver/headset units for possible
use by those without suitable hearing aids).