What Hearing Aids Can Receive Loop Broadcasts?
In 2020, reports Stephen Frazier, the Consumer's Guide to Hearing Aids reported that 58 percent of hearing aid models were coming with telecoils, as were 75 percent of models larger than the miniaturized, completely-in-the-canal aids. (Telecoils double hearing aid functionality by enabling the instrument to serve as a customized, wireless loudspeaker. They also enhance phone listening with all landline phones and more and more cell phones.)
Moreover, the greater people’s need for hearing assistance, the more likely they are to have hearing aids with telecoils—as did 84 percent of Hearing Loss Association of America members in one survey. New model cochlear implants also offer telecoils. See a hands-up survey of attendees at the organization’s 2012 convention.
Where loop systems are installed, the percentage of people with telecoils will naturally rise as they become more useful. (How many people had televisions before TV stations began broadcasting?)
Even so, a loop system will immediately serve more people, for two reasons: 1) anyone without telecoils can still check out portable receivers, as with other assistive listening systems, and 2) few people in churches, movie theaters, and auditoriums presently bother to check out the portable receivers. Where a loop system is installed, nearly all telecoil-equipped people will use it. With a higher and growing usage rate, loop systems promise to benefit more people (as well as to serve their needs more effectively and inconspicuously).
Hard of hearing people who have prioritized cosmetics over hearing have usually elected invisible “completely in the canal” aids or inconspicuous in-the-canal aids, which generally have had insufficient room for the telecoils. Telecoils are, however, reportedly becoming more miniaturized and can now be included “in all but the tiniest hearing aids,” reports audiological researcher-writer Mark Ross.
With the flick of a tiny switch the telecoil-equipped hearing aid switches from a microphone (M) to a telecoil (T) mode. Many hearing aids also offer a setting for simultaneous mike and telecoil (MT). In settings where one wishes both inputs, the MT setting is useful.
In some cases it is possible to add T-coils to existing hearing aids, but at greater cost than the minimal cost of T-coils with original purchase. One’s audiologist can advise on cost. Telecoils as shown here (courtesy Tibbetts Industries, Inc.), are tiny additions to hearing aids.