What is Telecoil?

Telecoil Symbol

Telecoils are incredibly useful for everyday life with hearing loss. Hearing aids are the best option for many people suffering from hearing loss, enabling their enjoyment in the variety of sounds life has to offer. One of the most significant features that you can look for in a hearing aid is the telecoil, which can sometimes also be called “t-switch" or "t-coil".

What is a Telecoil?

If you are wondering what a telecoil looks like, just imagine a tiny coil of copper wire, which serves as a wireless antenna that can detect magnetic signals produced by compatible sound devices participating in the process.

Usually, a hearing aid picks up sounds through a small microphone. When the wearer is having a conversation in a quiet environment, most hearing aids’ performance will be more than sufficient. However, extra help may be required in more complicated situations, such as talking on the phone. In order to hear well in this case, many people will have remove their hearing aid, or turn up the volume of either the phone or their hearing aid, which can lead to disturbing and annoying whistling sounds. Furthermore putting the phone next to their ear, the microphones of the two devices get too close to each other, which also results in unwanted feedback. This is the time when the telecoil program provides its excellent solution, by turning off the hearing aid’s microphone and provoking a tiny electric current to pass through the wire coil when exposed to a changing magnetic field. This allows your hearing aid to pick up the magnetic signal from the phone handset or induction loop that represents sound. Channeling the sound directly to the receiver of your hearing aid in this way results in vastly improved voice clarity.

The great thing about the t-coil is that it can provide additional help not only during a phone call, but in many other cases, e.g. when the wearer is in an area with a hearing induction loop system. The induction loop generates a magnetic field that can be picked up by the telecoil to deliver a good quality sound, even in a large and noisy environment. Therefore, the induction loop systems can be very beneficial in public areas such as churches, concert halls, classrooms, trains or bus stations, movie theatres, etc. Such places are usually indicated with an international sign that informs people with hearing aids that a telecoil connection is available. An induction loop can also be created at home, around specific rooms or places.

The hearing aid telecoil setting can also be enjoyed with a number of assistive listening devices compatible with the setting. They can be combined with the telecoil so that its users will be able to stream the sound coming from a variety of audio devices, such as TVs, MP3 players, iPhone and Smartphones, etc., directly to their hearing aid.

Please note that the telecoil cannot be used with all hearing aid types, as it cannot fit into the smallest ones. You can expect to find the setting mainly in Behind The Ear hearing aids and In Ear hearing aids.

More information on devices can be found in our post "Making the most of your Telecoil".

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