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What Is a Hearing Loop System?

Hearing loop systems are another way of helping the hard of hearing be part of the surrounding environment without feeling isolated or dependent on others to assist them in understanding speech in different situations. Their basic function is to create a magnetic field via an amplifier and a loop cable that goes around a room and send the audio input coming from a sound source (microphone, music, etc.) to a special device that picks it up and transfers it to the hearer. Such a device is for example the telecoil in most hearing aids, cochlear implants, special headphones or other assistive listening devices. In the past, the telecoil was mainly used to connect to the phone and let the person enjoy crisp and noise free conversation. Currently, the telecoil is used with induction or hearing loops to pick up their signal as well and transfer it to the listener.

The use of the telecoil is usually very simple and is achieved by pressing a button or switch that turns off the normal function of the hearing aid and connects it directly to the signal of the magnetic field. The result is that the hard of hearing can hear only the sounds that come from the induction loop and thus avoid background and other additional noises (e.g. echo). This is especially beneficial when the listener wants to focus only on the sounds of interest such as a concert, conference speech, presentation, theatre piece, TV programme, etc.

Hearing loops are widespread in the UK and their presence is usually indicated by a special sign that indicates that there is a functioning induction loop in the building. Induction loops are easy to install and move. They are particularly useful in public buildings such as service desks, ticket counters or auditoriums as well as theatres, concert halls, churches, cinemas, airports, shops, etc.

In addition, hearing loops could also be used in offices, e.g. meeting rooms or conference halls as well as at home, in a room of your choice. Their main application is connected to the amplification of the signal coming from the TV or audio systems and provision of a clear and crisp sound environment to the listener without disturbing the rest of the household. The adjusted volume is audible only to the wearer of the hearing aid or the special headphones and does not interfere with the sound heard by others.

A good choice for a home induction loop system is the innovative Geemarc LH600 that transmits sounds from the TV or other audio sources to all hearing devices equipped with a T switch. It has 2 microphones and 2 audio inputs. The tone could be adjusted with +/-10dB and the received volume range could go up to 24dB. In addition, the Geemarc LH600 can also be used with a telephone line to amplify and transmit the ringing signal of the phone through the loop. It is very easy to install and can be fixed on the wall or remain portable to be moved in other rooms if necessary.

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