Hearing aids are invaluable devices for those who suffer from mild to profound hearing loss. The great variety available in technology, type, shape, and function sometimes poses a difficult choice for the wearer due to uncertainty as to which features and functions may be right for them. Getting a hearing aid is an important step and often not cheap; it improves quality of life and allows greater participation in various activities that have become more difficult.
One such activity is answering and talking on the phone, which is now completely feasible for the hard of hearing. The telecoil is the most common solution for answering the phone when wearing hearing aids. Along with other important factors such as type and severity of hearing loss, specialist’s recommendation, and budget range, getting a hearing aid with a telecoil function is necessary if you want to benefit from easier phone use and other assistive listening devices, e.g. induction loops in theatres and cinemas as well as many public buildings.
Many modern digital hearing aids have a built-in telecoil – a tiny coil of wire that picks up magnetic signals. The telecoil is an essential part of the hearing device as it allows the hearing aid to take advantage of any device that produces magnetic signals such as the phone. It then transforms them into sounds. To use the telecoil function, you will need to switch it on and off according to when it is desirable. You should be aware, though, that when active, the telecoil does de-activate some of the other features of the hearing aid such as speech-based features etc. Some hearing devices even have automatic telecoils that activate as soon as they sense a magnetic field.
When the telecoil is on, the microphone of the hearing aid usually turns off and that eliminates any additional background noise that you might hear while talking. In addition to having a telecoil in your hearing aid, it is best to use it with a hearing aid compatible telephone. To recognize such a phone, you need to look for a “T-setting” sign on the package. The combination of the telecoil with the compatible phone will produce a crisp sound without feedback – the best way to hear and enjoy a phone conversation. You may need to find the right way to hold the earpiece in order to benefit the most and hear the clearest sound. Telecoils are often present in most hearing aids, except for the very tiny ones. Before buying a hearing aid, it is advisable to check if it has a t-switch and how to use it. If you are unsure or if it needs adjustment, it is best to ask your dispenser or your audiologist. In addition, to enhance the experience you should consider buying a hearing aid compatible phone. The majority of these phones are also amplified so you can increase the volume of the ringer and the receiver.
Most of the amplified phones offered by HearingDirect, whether they are corded or cordless, are telecoil compatible. Here are some good choices: