Hearing Loop Advocacy Resources | Part of The Loop Florida Initiative

Why are hearing loops needed?

When I needed technical service, the friendly and talented IWS team promptly provided it to my satisfaction. All I can say is that if making talented technicians available to customers is an indication of the service I can expect in the future, there is no question that I’ll recommend IWS highly to my friends.
— Richard Herring Consumer and Advocate for people with hearing loss.

Recent Wall Street Journal article explaining the importance of Hearing Loop Systems

Don’t hearing aids enable hearing?

Today’s digital hearing aids effectively enhance hearing in conversational settings. Yet for many people with hearing loss the sound becomes unclear when auditorium or TV loudspeakers are at a distance, when the context is noisy, or when room acoustics reverberate sound. This may even be the same with a conversational setting. A hearing loop magnetically transfers the microphone or TV sound signal to hearing aids and cochlear implants with a "Telecoil." This transforms the instruments into in-the-ear loudspeakers that deliver sound customized for one’s own hearing loss.

Having a simple form of audio technology installed can be the complete solution to all your hearing needs. This technology is fairly new to the United States, that has been adopted from Europe. That new technology is properly called an "AFIL" (Audio Frequency Induction Loop). The simple name for it is called a "Hearing Loop."

What is a Hearing Loop?

Audio Induction Loop Technology is a loop of cable installed around a designated area, which generates a magnetic field picked up by hearing aids with Telecoils or cochlear implants.

——Hearing loops are an accessory to the hearing aid that make it much more effective. Hearing Loops, take sound straight from the source and deliver it right into the listener's ear. The user experience is as if one's head was located in the microphone, or inches from a television's loudspeaker--without extraneous noise, or blurring of the sound with distance from the sound source.

In the image above the facility is Looped. If you look closely both individuals have hearing aids.

Some Common Venues for Hearing Loop Installation:

  • Senior facility common areas
  • Bank and pharmacy windows
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Movie theaters
  • Concert halls
  • Auditoriums
  • Motor Vehicles

Worldwide installations of Hearing Loops include:

  • Westminster Abbey
  • Stockholm Opera House
  • St. Andrews Cathedral
  • NYC Subway ticket kiosks
  • US Congress Building

FAQs about Loops

What does a hearing loop cost?

For professional installation in an average-sized auditorium or place of worship loop cost varies depending on room size and physical layout of the building. Hearing loops offer long-term savings from purchasing and maintaining batteries in fewer portable listening units. For the user, the Telecoil cost is nominal and typically does not add to the hearing aid price.

Hearing loops harness magnetic energy. So is magnetic interference problematic?

Generally not. Old (nonflat) computer monitors, old fluorescent lighting, and some old dimmer switches generate interference, but with proper installation this problem can become nonexistent.

Don’t newer connective technologies work better?

New wireless technologies, including Bluetooth, do some helpful things, such as enable binaural phone listening. Bluetooth isn’t an assistive listening answer; it requires significant battery power and has limited range. An alternative future assistive listening solution—one that, like hearing loops, is hearing aid compatible will need similarly to be inexpensive, be capable of covering a wide area, drain little battery power (telecoils require no power), be universally accessible, and be sufficiently miniaturized that the receiver can fit in nearly all hearing aids.

Can hearing loops serve those without Telecoils or without hearing aids?

Yes, all forms of assistive listening, including hearing loops, come with portable receivers and headsets.

Can hearing loops be used in adjacent rooms?

Yes, with a professional design that controls sound spillover. Including Keeping Confidentiality in some loop designs.

Are there advantages to using hearing loops for home TV listening and in public settings?

A hearing aid compatible loop system delivers sound that’s customized by one’s hearing aids for one’s own ears. It requires no extra equipment.In public settings, their main advantage is that, when sound is distorted, people need only activate their Telecoils to hear the clear sounds coming through. Additionally, the sound is contained in one’s ear, without bothering others nearby. There is no need to juggle between headsets and hearing aids. There are no hygienic concerns about putting on one’s ear what has been around others’ ears.

How many Americans live with hearing loss?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders “approximately 17 percent or 36 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss.” About 1 in 4—some 8.4 million—have hearing aids, a number that would surely increase if hearing aids could double as wireless, customized loudspeakers.

The videos below are great explanations on hearing loops.

What are the Benefits of having a hearing loop?