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The Return of the Telecoil

It wasn’t that long ago that we were calling the telecoil old and outdated technology. However, it seems that the telecoil has made a miraculous return and is popping up in new technology and new hearing aid devices all around us.

Maybe your current hearing aid has one or maybe you’ve been looking for a new hearing aid and are wondering about this feature. This tiny coil of wire might appear simple, but the benefits it can provide to people who use it are quite substantial.

The telecoil was initially introduced to improve listening ability on the phone. The speakers in older telephone handsets included powerful magnets. The telecoil-enabled hearing aid could therefore offer a clear transmission of only those sounds coming through the telephone. Modern phones no longer use magnets in this way. But, because the telecoil function is so popular among hearing aid users, many modern telephones contain additional electronics to make them telecoil compatible.

The telecoil function isn’t just useful for telephones. Theaters, train stations, stadiums and auditoriums often use them within their Assistive Listening Systems. These venues will commonly provide headsets or receivers that the hearing impaired can use with their own hearing aids to pick up the signals. In some cases the magnetic sounds you receive will be a higher quality than what you could experience acoustically. 

Telecoil FAQ

What is a telecoil? A telecoil, or “t-coil” is a tiny, wireless receiver that is built-in to many hearing aids and cochlear implant processors and utilized as a program on the hearing aid that picks up a sound through a magnetic signal. In contrast to conventional microphones and amplifiers, which amplify all sounds they encounter, a telecoil will only transmit sounds that are created magnetically.

How does it work? The t-coil works by turning off the regular microphone on your hearing aid and only picking up the sounds from the phone.

Are there problems with a t-coil? You may hear interference while in the t-coil setting. There may be a “buzzing sound” from the devices. Fluorescent lighting, televisions, and computer screens may make this buzzing louder. Try to move away from these devices when using the t-coil.

Telecoils  Around Town

Some people use a t-coil with assistive listening devices called FM or audio loops. If you go to any events or religious services and the room is “looped” that means you can use your t-coil. Set your hearing aids to the telecoil program and when the speaker talks into the microphone the sound will be picked up by the “loop” and then it goes right into your hearing aid(s). It will turn off the background noise and allow you to hear the speaker.