Today we're going to discuss how to use a hearing loop. How do you access it and listen to it? What methods are there for listening to the loop?
Once a hearing loop is installed in a room, activated, and tuned to international standards, then you're going to be ready to access it, and enjoy the benefit of it. There's going to be different ways you can do that, but it all starts with the telecoil. The telecoil is the component you need in order to hear the sound. That's what's going to receive the signal. They are extremely tiny, in terms of what we think, however in a hearing aid, they're considered a large component.
About 70%-85% of existing hearing aids have a telecoil in it. 100% of cochlear implants have it. It's a lot of devices that already have a telecoil in it. And there's only one way you're going to know for sure if you have it, and that's ask your hearing care professional. So just go to your hearing care professional and say, "Do I have a telecoil so I can listen to a hearing loop?" And if the answer is yes, then you say, "Can you please activate it for me?" Then, they should be able to activate the programming for it.
Now, most hearing aids are set up so that they have, maybe three or four program slots available. And you and your hearing care professional can designate those slots in any way you want. The first one might be everyday listening. The second one might be restaurants and high noise. And then the third one is hopefully your hearing loop program. Now it could be different, it could be your fourth program, it could be your second program, it's just a matter of how it gets set up, and how that hearing care professional tunes it for you. You can feel free to ask for a different setup if that works better for you.
In terms of actually turning on that telecoil program, it's going to be different from hearing aid to hearing aid. Most hearing aids have a button on them, that you press to change programs. Again, your hearing care professional should show you how to do that. Some hearing aids will have a little bit of a different method, where they might have an app on your cellphone that says “telecoil mode”, and you'll activate that, or it could be a variety of methods. You might have the ability to adjust the telecoil volume up and turn down for the microphone level. But again, talk to your hearing care professional, they should be able to show you all those options, and then play around with it, when you're in church or the theater and see what you like best. Even if you don't have an app, your hearing care professional can make adjustments to the telecoil/microphone volume and other settings.
If that's not an option, and your hearing care provider says something like, "Oh I'm sorry, your hearing device doesn't have a telecoil built-in," you could also ask if a streamer is available with the telecoil built-in. Some manufacturers offer a streaming device with a telecoil built into it, that relays that telecoil signal to your hearing aid via proprietary wireless technology from that hearing aid manufacturer.
What are the other options? What if you don't have hearing aids at all, and you want to be able to listen to the hearing loop? Well, there are good options for you too. The first one is just a basic receiver; you can plug any headphones into it. You twist the volume knob to turn it on, put the headphones on, and just adjust the volume as you need to. The best reception for these is vertical. If you lay them flat, depending on which angle you’re at, sometimes you can lose the signal, so it's easiest just to remember, best reception is vertical. They use a standard headphone jack, so any headphones will work. If you want to bring your own headphones, you can. Or you can use the facility-provided ones. These loop receivers are universal so they will work with any hearing loop that has been installed to meet IEC standards. There is also no limit to how many loop reciecvers can be used in one hearing loop.
Another option I love is something called LoopBuds. LoopBuds use an iPhone or other Apple Device to process and amplify the sound. Simply download the LoopBuds app onto your phone, plug them in, and listen to the hearing loop that’s installed in the room. LoopBuds have a telecoil built-in, so you can't just use any earphones with the app; it does have to be the LoopBuds earphones. You can also change some of the settings within the app, there are some EQ settings, a hum filter, and even an audio delay.
Loopbuds are a great option with great sound quality in a hearing loop. However, Loopbuds are currently only for Apple devices. You may also need a headphone plug to lightning adapter because the LoopBuds just come with a 3.5-millimeter headphone plug. However, iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads will all work with LoopBuds. At only $75 it's a great option for all sorts of people. If you want to order LoopBuds, you can do that from our shop section on our website.
That's it for today's post. If you liked it, please subscribe, we're going to be doing a whole lot more videos about hearing loops, assistive listening, acoustics, all about everything that we know, and live and breathe every day.