hearing loop

Hearing Loops & Telecoils Ease Travel

Hearing loops & telecoils create assistive listening systems

Travel happens mostly in sound environments that generate serious communication challenges for those with hearing loss. Yet, understanding speech in the least amount of background noise is a major issue for those who are hard-of-hearing.  

Luckily, hearing loops are gaining in popularity with the travel industry and with public transfer facilities. Hearing loops and telecoils work together to become assistive listening systems that boost sound clarity in noisy places. This makes for greatly enriched travel experiences. Overall, hearing-challenged people benefit from hearing loops in places such as train stations, on tour buses and trains, at ticket and information counters, in museums, in airports and so on.   

Telecoils connect to hearing loops 

While preparing trips and booking tours, it is a good time to find out if your hearing aids have telecoils. If they do, have you been instructed in their use? 

Also called T-coils, these are tiny wireless antennas installed in cochlear implants and in many hearing aids that are big enough to accommodate them. They let people connect to hearing loops for much improved sound quality in loud venues

And so, get information on hearing assistance ahead of time. Check with the Tour agency about the locations of hearing loops and other assistive listening help at places that you plan to visit. Check the websites. Call or have someone call on your behalf. 

Helpful and not outdated technology

The growing list of hearing loops at airports and public transport facilities proves that hearing loops are very much alive and not outdated technology as many people are led to believe. 

At the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport, hearing loops are being installed as I am writing this. In October 2020, the New York and New Jersey Port Authority released updated accessibility guidelines. They call for the installation of hearing loops at information counters and at passenger gates of the airports, rail, bus and ferry facilities under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority.

Hearing loops are especially popular overseas, A lady told me that she found hearing loops almost everywhere while visiting London ─ in museums and buses and taxis and trains. It was wonderful, she said. The only times that she had her telecoils off was in her hotel room and when walking outside. 

So, don’t be left out. It is actually quite frustrating to see the blue-and-white hearing loss signs with the prominent capital T (for telecoil) while not being able to connect.

In the end…

Do your hearing aids have telecoils? Have they been “activated” by your audiologist or dispenser? Do you know when, where and how to use them?  

If none of this makes any sense, it is time to talk to your hearing aid provider. Learn about this technology. Get ready to tune into the loop and Bon Voyage!

For more information on hearing loops and telecoils:  loopminnesota.org


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