Some of us have a big issue with hearing in public spaces. We’re fine with our Bluetooth connective devices on our TVs, smartphones and computers to listen in. However, beyond the comfort of home and work, we may be in situations with hearing challenges in noisy environments. The unpredictability of noises can scare us, like when we see a snake in close vicinity for the first time. We avoid returning back or staying home altogether.
Most of us have forgotten another available feature on our hearing aids and cochlear implants that may be our needed solution. This is a tool which gets missing in conversations about hearing loss often. It isn’t exactly novel. In fact, it has been around for the longest time. Way before man landed on the moon. Telecoil is the unforgotten tool that we have at our disposal on some of our hearing aids and cochlear implants and may be the answer to help us in certain places.
Bluetooth devices are being repeatedly used and are more mainstream. The telecoil (T-coil) feature on our hearing aids has been left aside and ignored. It has been so easy to use our Bluetooth connectivity with our hearing aids. But Bluetooth is often unavailable or can’t be used in certain situations. There may be a day when Bluetooth appears in every electronic audio device in public buildings worldwide. It may just happen. Until then, we won’t always have a chance to make Bluetooth connections. We should try to dust our T-coil and bring them back to life.
It had me wondering where we can use our telecoil feature on our aids without purchasing another device to use them. It’s an experiment that I thought would be worthwhile finding and sharing.
What’s a telecoil & hearing looping system?
Telecoil, known as t-switch or t-coil, and hearing loops are common vocabularies. Basically, a telecoil is a feature that’s built into hearing aids. Like Bluetooth connectivity, telecoil can connect with other sound source systems. The sound source will need to be built for looping to the t-coil.
There are three ways to get your hearing looping systems, either built-in into the room, from a small device that can make a wireless connection or using a looping connectivity tool that wraps around your neck and can plug into the main audio speaker. Neck loops are more for personal listening, whereas the other two allow others with aids to connect to the same speaker. On your hearing aids or cochlear device, you will need to switch your microphone to T-coil. Which can be simple as pressing a button to make the telecoil connections to get speaker sound directly to your ears.
Where can you get looped up?
Some may wonder how this dinosaur technology might work for them. I investigated public places for you to visit today or somewhat similar spaces that may be near you.
So here’s the rule. First, we only share places where you do not need to purchase a hearing loop system to benefit. Secondly, the loop system must already be set up in the public space. Thirdly, you can only bring yourself and your aids: hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Talking on the phone
I know this may be easy for you. But how often do we come across landlines and need to talk on a phone that isn’t a mobile device? Maybe we still have a landline attached to our home phone to use our t-coil. If not, maybe there is one available for the public to use.
Are there still any payphones out there? My mind goes into how unhygienic this would be and why I may be setting myself up for another problem called a covid positive problem. Oh, why not? I’ll place a collect call, but at least it is one way to use t-coil.
In the home of a holy place
Some of you may be catching up with God on Sundays and need a place to hang out and chat. Most churches, synagogues or mosques offer looping systems to help you hear the spiritual advisor give their latest take on the world.
If timing is not your thing, you don’t need to not forcing yourself to make it early to get the seat up in front. You can still slip into the back on your own time. You’ll be able to skip hearing the audio bouncing off the ceiling, trying to make sense of what the word was.
While watching a live production
Most of our hearing aids won’t be able to pick up the pure sound of a high-octave singing voice. Yet, hearing the words at a theatre production might be even more important. It’s often hard to follow the storyline during a live production. And nothing is worst when you keep asking your friend next to you what the actor is saying. Imagine when that very same actor can hear you right from the stage. A hearing loop will be able to help you laugh, cry and smile along with the production.
At a customer service counter
One of us has to go to the bank or government services to see and speak to someone. It’s hard for Millennials and the younger generation to comprehend this is a thing in the age of digital technology.
These customer service personnels are often sitting behind this glass or plastic barrier. The sounds are not clear at times. Often we don’t want the whole room to hear our conversation from the speaker system used at the counter. Jeeze, do they have to say my bank balance out so loud.?! A hearing loop can help us get the right answers and support we need to be done quickly.
It’s worth a try
If you ever want to find more ideas of places near you to go to loop up. You might want to check some places on Google Maps. Venue managers can specify if they have hearing loops available. You never know if that place you’ve been meaning to attend has one available.
While technologies have their positives, there are negatives for some who have used T-coil. However, these are some ways to test your aids when you feel you have no other option. It can help you leave the house and begin to enjoy being in public spaces again.
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