Imagine yourself struggling to hear announcements in a crowded subway station, trying to make out your favorite notes at a concert, or straining your ears at your place of worship. Even those with hearing aids still have trouble hearing clearly, especially in large venues or places with a lot of ambient noise.
But with advances in a new technology called a “hearing loop,” your hearing aid could start working a lot harder for you and help you feel more included in conversations.
What is a hearing loop?
Put simply, it’s a thin, high-tech copper wire, usually installed around the edges of a room. The wire is designed to emit electromagnetic signals, which receivers in about two-thirds of modern hearing aids and cochlear implants can pick up.
When the hearing device’s receiver is on, it will detect just the sounds from the microphone in that room, but remove the background clutter. And even better, people with impaired hearing can freely move around the microphone’s area and still reap the benefits. No special headsets or neck loops are required.
Hearing loops are making their way into public spaces around New York. The subway system is currently having hearing loops installed at 500 ticket booths, and the loops are already in place at:
- Yankee Stadium and Citi Field ticket windows
- The SoHo Apple store
- The American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Ellis Island’s info stands and exhibits
Although hearing-loop technology is actually decades old, the “telecoil” receivers needed to use them haven’t been standard in U.S. hearing aids and cochlear implants until recently. The U.K. and Scandinavia were first to start widely utilizing the technology, but now this country is catching up.
As hearing loops gain popularity, business owners will surely be thinking about the cost to install them — about $10 to $25 a seat, according to the New York Times. Hearing loops are trickier to install than systems commonly used in churches and theaters now, which use FM signals or infrared technology to connect with headsets or building-owned hearing devices.
If you’re having trouble hearing clearly in crowded places, contact our office to learn more about new advances in hearing devices. Our experts are well versed in the latest technology — and can help you make it work for you.
For more information on hearing loops, visit