This tiny coil of wire might appear simple, but the benefits it can provide to people who use it are quite substantial.

The Return of the Telecoil

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Hearing Loss

It wasn’t that long ago that we were calling the telecoil old and outdated technology – but it seems that the telecoil has made a miraculous return, and it’s been popping up in new hearing aid tech all around us recently. 

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. 

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 used 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. 

The telecoil was initially introduced to improve listening ability on the phone; the speakers in older telephone handsets included powerful magnets, and the telecoil-enabled hearing aid offered a clear transmission of only those sounds coming through the telephone.  

However, modern phones no longer use magnets in this way. Because the telecoil function is so popular among hearing aid users, many modern telephones have added electronics to make them telecoil compatible. 

How Does the Telecoil Work?  

The modern version of the telecoil works by turning off the regular microphone on your hearing aids and only picking up the sounds from the phone. In some cases, the magnetic sounds you receive will be of a higher quality than what you could experience acoustically! 

However, you may hear interference while in the telecoil 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 telecoil. 

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.  

Telecoils around Town 

Some people use a telecoil 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 telecoil. 

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. 

Concerned about Your Hearing? 

If you or a loved one has noticed struggles with your hearing and thinks that professional, personalized hearing care could be the right choice for you, then we’re here to help. 

Please feel free to contact us at 972-943-0466, or come visit us in our Plano office during working hours. 

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Celia McCormick

Dr. McCormick has lived in Plano since 1988. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University and completed her Doctorate of Audiology at the University of Texas at Dallas. Soon after, she opened a private practice in Plano and now enjoys serving the community that has been her home for the past three decades.