Did you know that your hearing aids have an antenna? Sort of.
The telecoil, a small wire coiled around a rod located inside your hearing aids, works as an antenna to pick up magnetic signals and streams them as sound into your hearing aids. With this “T-setting,” your hearing aids can stream the sound of a speaker’s voice or the music of the opera directly into your ears – without any pesky background noises.
What is a telecoil?
A telecoil is a small coil inside your hearing aids. The coil works as a small receiver which picks up signals from a loop system that acts as an electromagnetic field. Hearing aids with an activated telecoil can convert this electromagnetic field into a sound signal. Only the signal from the loop system’s microphone is amplified, and background noise is shut out. If your hearing aid has a telecoil, you can activate it via a “t-switch” on your hearing aids.
How does a telecoil work?
A telecoil acts as a sort of antenna for your ears. When you link this up with a sound system in a church or theater, you can get amplified sounds delivered directly into your hearing aids. So no matter where you are in the theater, you automatically have the best seat in the house.
Hearing aid microphones are designed to pick up all sounds, but once in a while it’s important to tune in to only one thing – like when you’re listening to a concert or sitting in a classroom. When combined with assistive listening devices like FM+DEX and SCOLA, telecoil systems stream the most important sound directly into your ears via your hearing aids.
Using a telecoil with a loop system can improve the sound quality in situations with a lot of background noise. They’re also good for when you’re sitting far away from the sound you want to hear – like in a church or lecture.
How do I turn on the telecoil in my hearing aid?
Most hearing aids models have a switch that gives you access to receive signals either from the hearing aid microphone or a loop system. It is called a “T switch.” Activating the T-setting switches off the microphone - so only signals transmitted from the loop system are audible.
In some situations it can be useful to receive signals via both telecoil and microphone – like when you want to hear the TV and surrounding sounds like your spouse´s voice. Many hearing aids therefore have an “MT” setting that allows for both the microphone and telecoil to be active.
Where can I use a telecoil system?
A telecoil can be used wherever a loop system is installed. When the telecoil function in a hearing aid is activated, sound sent through the loop system is amplified while background noise is shut out. Loop telecoil systems – also known as “hearing loops” or “audio induction loops” – are becoming more popular and can now be found in: Churches, Concert halls, Universities, Taxi cabs (London and New York City), Airports, Museums (for guided tours).
Look for this symbol to find a telecoil system where you are:
Do all hearing aids have telecoils?
Most types of hearing aids have the option available. Completely-in-canal and Invisible-in-canal hearing aids do not have telecoils due to their small size.
Only a hearing professional will know which kind of hearing aid is best for your type of hearing loss. Ask your hearing professional how you can benefit from a telecoil in your hearing aids. Find your local hearing professional here.