When you are shopping for hearing aids, sometimes you will see options that contain a telecoil, or T-coil. But what is a t-coil? Who would benefit most from having a T-coil?
What is a telecoil?
Technically speaking, a telecoil is a small, copper wire that is coiled inside the hearing aid. When turned on, the telecoil can pick up electromagnetic signals from various sources. Many public venues, such as theaters and churches, have systems that are compatible with hearing aid t-coils, to assist patrons with hearing loss.
What this means, is that these venues can directly stream sound into hearing aids that are connected via t-coil. For people who regularly use public transportation or travel via airline, t-coils can be essential for hearing announcement broadcasts, as these environments are often extremely noisy. For people who frequent live performances, t-coils can increase their enjoyment by improving sound quality and reducing background noise.
If your hearing aid contains a telecoil, your audiologist can demonstrate how to activate this feature. In most cases, turning it on is as simple as flipping a switch. Using your telecoil does not require purchasing any additional accessories.
Where can I use a telecoil?
Many churches, libraries, movie theaters, and live entertainment venues utilize hearing loops. In larger cities, many public transportation stations have hearing loop systems available. Keep your eye out for a blue sign indicating that telecoil is available. You can also check the website of the venue to check for telecoil compatibility.
In the Des Moines area, the following entertainment venues utilize hearing loops:
- Cinemark 20 Jordan Creek in West Des Moines
- Des Moines Civic Center
- Hawkeye Community Theatre in Fort Dodge
- Harris Cinema in Grinnell
Who should get a T-coil device?
People with severe hearing loss will benefit more from T-coil technology than people with mild hearing loss. The greater the severity of the hearing loss, the more difficulty people have hearing in large rooms and public spaces.
Think about your normal environments. Do you spend a lot of time in public spaces like courtrooms or auditoriums? How often do you travel via plane or train? Do you regularly attend church? The more time you spend in large public spaces, the more opportunities you will have to utilize your hearing aid’s telecoil.
During your hearing aid assessment, your audiologist can help you decide whether you would benefit from a hearing aid that contains a T-coil. Your lifestyle and preferences will be key in making the right choice for you. The cost of adding a telecoil is typically minimal, or no extra at all. The cost of all current hearing aids, with and without a T-coil, can be found on our website.