September 2, 2016


What is a telecoil and how does it work?

A telecoil is a small copper coil inside most hearing aids and cochlear implant processors that will induce an electric current in the coil in the presence of a changing magnetic field. It can be used to wirelessly connect the hearing instrument directly to a sound source, giving the listener a clearer signal by reducing the interference of background noise. It’s also referred to as a “t-switch” or “t-coil”. Using the t-coil can improve listening over the phone, understanding in groups / meetings, and in places of worship. Below is a description of how the t-coil can be optimized to improve your listening experience.


The Telephone

A t-coil may be beneficial if your hearing loss makes it difficult to understand on the phone without the visual cues of face-to face communication. There is no additional charge for hearing aids or cochlear implants that have a t-coil. Therefore, you can ask for a t-coil when you purchase hearing aids or your audiologist may recommend one based on your lifestyle. The audiologist will add a t-coil setting to your hearing aid or cochlear implant settings during programming. Typically, you can access the program with a small button on the hearing device or a separate remote control. Sometimes, cell phones do not have enough of a magnetic field to connect to the t-coil, therefore it may be necessary to put magnets near the receiver of the phone. If this is the case, your audiologist can supply you with a t-coil magnet.


The Loop System

Many churches, schools, performance venues, and businesses use a loop system to help individuals with hearing loss listen over distances. A loop system can connect a person’s hearing devices directly to the sound source, thereby reducing background noise and the challenges associated with distance hearing. An environmental loop system works by placing a magnetic strip around the circumference of a room (i.e. the loop) that creates a wireless signal that can be picked-up by a hearing device. A personal loop system, or a neck loop, performs the same function by using a device worn around the neck of the hearing aid user. All devices with a t-coil, no matter the brand or company, can connect to a loop system when in telecoil mode.


Where to Use Your Telecoil

Aside from using the telecoil function of your hearing device with your personal phone, there are many places in the Jacksonville area where you can take advantage of this technology. For instance, the waiting rooms here at JHBI are looped to assist with hearing the television. Many other businesses, movie theaters, and churches have either environmental or personal loop systems you can use. Just look for this symbol posted somewhere at the venue:





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