Telecoils

Video “The Telecoil Explained” by Hearing Tracker (7:21)*

What are telecoils? Do I want one?

Essentially, a telecoil increases the effectiveness of your hearing aid or cochlear implant.

A telecoil connects your hearing aid (wirelessly) to the public address system in the place you are visiting, via an assistive listening system. If you want to hear more clearly in public and private places, yes, you do want a telecoil in your hearing aids. 

A graphic showing a small group of people listening to a lecturer. There is a hearing loop around the edge of the audience. The insert shows a hearing aid with the message "hearing aid with toggle switch to engage telecoil
Graphic credit: HLAA Washington State

The telecoil can connect you to assistive listening systems in theaters, airports, places of worship, and thousands of other public spaces. Better still, a telecoil directly connects you to a hearing loop (if one is installed in the building you are visiting) without the need for additional Assistive Listening Device equipment–you simply switch your hearing aid or cochlear implant to telecoil mode (or T mode). Telecoils can also connect you to your home hearing loop or TV hearing loop.  

Many people with hearing aids don’t know if their hearing aid has a telecoil or how to use it. Ask your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist if your hearing aid has a telecoil, and make sure it’s activated and ask for a demonstrationIf you’re considering buying hearing aids soon, make sure you consider telecoils before you buy. Some manufacturers use a “T” in the name to let you know the hearing aid has a telecoil. The Oticon Opn miniRITE T or Signia Pure Charge&Go T IX are examples. 

What about Bluetooth? Isn’t that enough?

Classic Bluetooth and telecoils are different technologies and are designed for different situations. Classic Bluetooth helps you connect to personal devices such as your TV, smartphone, or tablet, but it has a limited range, and the technology in hearing instruments is often proprietary, not universal. In contrast, the telecoil is universal and will boost your hearing and comprehension more effectively in public and private places around the world. Users need Bluetooth AND telecoils in their hearing aids, to be public access ready.

We need Bluetooth + Telecoils. Do you Know Why?

Telecoils are a very inexpensive hearing aid component and does not inflate the cost of hearing aids. 

Most prescription hearing aids and all cochlear implants have telecoils in the device or in an accessory, such as a streamer or remote microphone.

OTC Hearing Aids. Only one OTC hearing aid has a telecoil, the Lexie Lumen.

No. The user often needs to ask. Ask Your Audiologist (postcard, pdf)

The majority of Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists do not include telecoils in prescription hearing aids.

Legislation summary that includes counseling patients about telecoils in hearing instruments, assistive listening systems, or building standards (19 pages, pdf)

Yes – but should be included at the time of order. Sometimes, the telecoil can sometimes be added (cost could be in the $100/$150 range) if the devices are still under warranty during the first and second year.

Telecoils may be found in the following devices:

Articles

The best time to get a telecoil is during purchase.  Depending on the hearing aid manufacturer, after manufacturing, you may be able to add a telecoil with an accessory (streamer or remote microphone) or sometimes the battery door can contain a telecoil.

Telecoils are very small. Compare the photo of hearing aids: one with a telecoil and one without – they are about the same size…

2 hearing aids, one with a telecoil and one without. They are relatively the same size. penny next to 2 telecoils. Telecoils are approximately 1/5 the size of a penny

Resources

Users

Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists

Audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists-CEU credits

  • Telecoils, Hearing Loops and Auracast: A Hybrid Solution to Client Satisfaction. 1 hour course (AudiologyOnline November 15, 2024)
  • Hearing is Believing: Demonstrating the Benefits of Hearing Assistive Technology. .5 hour course (AudiologyOnline August 29, 2023)
  • Telecoils and Hearing Loops: Important to Client Satisfaction. 1 hour course (AudiologyOnline December 7, 2018)

*At the end of the video, there is mention of hearing loop ‘weak’ areas. In response: “If you are using a loop system and find a “weak” spot – it may be that the installation of the Hearing Loop does not meet the international standard (IEC 60118-4 code) for coverage, and you should let the owner/manager of that space know you had difficulty. They will contact their loop installer for analysis and repair as needed. When installed properly, a loop field reaches every activated telecoil equally well.” Audio Directions (installer) in comments.