Do you have a telecoil?
Have you heard of a hearing loop?
In this week's blog and podcast, we explain the importance of a telecoil and how it works with a loop.
You may not have a landline telephone anymore which has lead many folks to believe they don't need a telecoil, but there is a movement to add loops to many public venues. Which for most with hearing aids is the best way to get sound straight to their hearing aids, especially in public venues.
We hope after watching you too want to join HLAA Get in the Loop movement.
Video podcast with captions can be found on our YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/GghqiSD-Qcc
Remember to like and share hearinglosslive.com with your friends and family!
Hearing Loss LIVE! Talks Loops and Telecoils.
Julia: Hello, welcome to Hearing Loss LIVE! We are going to talk to you today about loops and telecoils. We talk in our blog about what loops and telecoils are, we're going to have Chelle Wyatt tell us her experiences with looping. That's happened here locally. I will say me personally have heard how many times over the years people don't know what telecoils and in loops are and how they work together. And we here, and I think Chelle will speak to it actually, brought in legislation to make it happen. That audiologist had to tell their clients what it was about. Chelle, give us your history with an experience with loops, and telecoils.
Chelle: Sorry, I was taking notes. Oh, my goodness. So one of the first things, well what I was writing down right now is that, you know, in order to be in a hearing loop, you have to have a telecoil program, or dedicated telecoil program on to experience it. And you have to make sure your hearing aids have a telecoil. And a lot of people come to us and they show me their hearing aids. And I would be like, I can't tell you if you have a telecoil or not, you have to go to the audiologist to find out. I think it's about 70% of hearing aids have telecoils. And I think all the cochlear implants have telecoils in them. So you have to get, go to your audiologist ask them if you had one. And if you do, they need to turn on a dedicated telecoil program. And what I mean by that is some hearing aids are set with the telecoil on just when it gets close enough to the phone, it'll automatically switch to the telecoil program. And then when you put it down, and that magneto-- magnetized field goes away, the program goes back to normal. So not all people have the program. Let me back up. Not all audiologist will tell you about the telecoil. And I wish they would because there's so much benefit with the telecoil. Okay, when I was, back in the mid 90s, I got hearing aids had telecoil program on them. And the lady knew I worked in the noisy salon. And I could not hear on the phone in there. I was really struggling. So she gave me. she showed me the T-coil switch when she gave me the hearing aids. And I would go in and listen to phone calls on that. So, I've been lucky that I had telecoil for that long. And after that I always made sure I had telecoil because it was one of the best ways to hear on the phone. But later on, you know Bluetooth came out and the audiologist are all about the Bluetooth. And I have to admit the sound on Bluetooth is really good. And it works with personal devices. So like Bluetooth earbuds, oh no, if you have hearing aidsyou don't need earbuds. So like Bluetooth streamer from the TV, Bluetooth streaming from computer or your music device. And that's pretty cool. But it doesn't have a public option for Bluetooth yet, but they are working on it. Maybe someday. So the telecoil is preferred because, I went to my to a 2012 HLAA convention, and every single one of their workshops was looped and had captions. I just loved it. I didn't even want to come home because that was like my world. So I walked into the workshop and I went into my telecoil mode and the speaker was right there in my ear instead of 20 feet away, or 10 feet away because I always sit up. And that was my first experience and I really really liked that and I came home to my HLAA group. And in 2013 We started a Loop-Utah movement and I became a part of that committee. I learned a lot there. We got two looped rooms in the Sanderson Center here in Utah. And there's microphones on every table. And when somebody speaks into'em, I hear like they're right beside me. I can look down and take notes. I really like the loop and I hear so much better from it than I do FM systems. FM systems don't have the clarity I think that the loop does. There's a driver connected to the sound system --very technical, I can give you like a brief description and then that's it. But a driver is plugged in and takes the sound from the microphone and the driver takes it in and pushes it around in the loop. So there's that extra push for sound. And it comes across a lot clearer. So my favorite time to have hearing aids in, is when I'm in a loop. I don't always wear them otherwise [laughing]. But if I know the meetings in a loop, put hearing aids in, telecoil program on and I am there. And so I love the loop and it's not outdated technology because every time you go to a hearing loss convention, they all loop their rooms. All the workshops are looped and you get excellent sound. Many businesses now have hearing loops. Salt Lake's a little behind. But Wisconsin, awesome loops all over the place. I looked up Denver, Denver has some good loops and businesses and venues. So don't let them say telecoil is old technology. I will always have a telecoil in my hearing aid no matter what. It's, it's just so that I don't have that missed opportunity. If you're going in to buy new hearing it make sure it has the telecoil. Doesn't cost extra. It's, it's a simple program you can go in and out. You can get a living room, living room loop like I do, where it's the loop is across the ceiling in my house. And I walk in and I go into my telecoil mode and I hear well enough that I can lip read as long as there isn't a lot of background noise. So don't don't go without the telecoil.
Julia: I have a question about your your living room loop. You use it to hear people as well as the TV in your living room. Or just for the TV. The television or or does it enhance without an extra microphone for people that are are in the living room with you
Chelle: No matter who has a T-coil in their ear, if they step into my loop, anybody can enjoy that sound. It does, it does have a microphone plug in. And one year for the SayWhatClub convention I took it because we couldn't find anybody else to loop the workshop. So I took my living room loop and it worked. Not the best. But it worked well enough that we could use it. So it can have a microphone but mostly mine in my living room is plugged in for TV and TV, that's it.
Julia: I remember I think it was right after Loop-Utah started the Walk4Hearing they would come in, Listen Tech would come in and loop the room for our banquets. Do you remember that? A lot of work there, but so they could do it last minute I think is what I'm trying to get out. Last Minute
Julia: There are temporary loops, like my living room loop is actually a temporary loop. And then there's permanent loops where they go in and put in a different array. Like they have to do it according to metal interference and it's a permanent loop. We have three rooms at the Sanderson Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing now and Hale Center Theater is looped in all its stages. So those are permanent. They're there forever.
Michele: Um, I just wanted to mention that you don't really have to have hearing aids to take advantage of the hearing loop. I have never worn hearing aids other than in trials. And I knew about the telecoil because it would always switch on for the telephone. But I had no idea about hearing loops and the years, all the years, that I was trying hearing aids. And the first time that I experienced a hearing loop was when I was visiting Chelle in Salt Lake City and she had already begun working at the Sanderson Center, and I went to work with her one day and asked her Is there any way that I could benefit from the hearing loop. And so she gave me a headset and turned the loop on. And I got to experience that. And that little bit of sound that I got, and I don't have a lot of hearing, I only have a few low tones left. I had more hearing at that time. But that little bit of sound that the loop gave may really enhance my lipreading. And so but I've never really been anywhere to take advantage of a hearing loop because it's not something that you see a lot. It's only been at conventions. I know when Minneapolis St. Paul airport remodeled, they installed hearing loops, and that's fabulous. So the next time that I was able to even think about using the hearing loop was in 2008 at the HLAA convention and Thomas Kaufman was giving a talk on hearing loops. And he developed a product called loop buds. And so I wound up buying a set of loop buds, Juliette Sterkens was there and she had some and she let me try them as he was speaking. And again, I was really amazed at the little bit of sound that I got how much it enhanced my lipreading. And what the loop buds do is you download an app to your phone and your your iPhone becomes a loop receiver. And so you put the ear buds so the loop buds in your ears, and you can experience the hearing loop that way. And whenever the, you know, I am in a location where there's a hearing loop, I pull out my loop buds and it's it's helpful. But unfortunately, hearing loops aren't as prevalent here in the US as they are other parts of the world. When I lived in Europe for four years, you saw the signs, the symbol for telecoils and hearing loops everywhere. And so it's always amazing to me, I'm kind of perplexing as to why the US hasn't taken advantage of this technology more than they have. And I know a lot of hearing loop advocates all over the US and seems like they shouldn't have to work so hard.
Chelle: I can go again. Yes, hearing loops are much more prevalent in Europe than they are here. They are trying to catch that up because a lot of people can benefit from telecoils and hearing loops and it is our preferred system because we don't have to pick up devices. With FM system, I have to pick up the receiver. A lot of times they don't have the neck loop either. They they have headphones that go over my hearing aids and my hearing loss and hearing aids are such that produces the squeal that nobody likes. And so headphones are not an option for me. I have to have like a neck loop. And still it's not as clear as being in an actual loop. Now, neck loop is is the same jack that you plug in for headphones and the earbuds but you plug it into the jack and it lays on the neck. You go into the T-coil mode and it picked up that magnetic signal. So I avoid the headphone squeal that way. The transmitters are, no sorry, the receivers, Michele picked up a receiver and tried the loop through that. And I think you said 2008 You were watching the Thomas Kaufman with Otto joy, and I think it was 2018 Right Michele?
Michele: Okay. Right, it was 2018. And I can't remember where the convention was that year. I guess it was in Minneapolis. I think that's where it was and Chelle also was attending that. I think you were at the same presentation that Thomas Kaufman gave, and, and he, he has a great loop installer. I think he's located in Phoenix, Arizona now.
Chelle: Yeah, he is. And he's put in a lot of loops in that area, too. And you can find out more about loops. I was gonna say, give you a website, but it doesn't look like it's working right now. So we'll have to put it on the end credits. So there's a lot of things that can be receivers for the loop, if you don't have telecoil, hearing, hearing aids, there's some amplification, amplification devices like the mino, it has the telecoil in it. And I think the Comfort Audio when, and I can't remember that oh, the Duet, it has a telecoil too. So you can go into a room and try it that way. Almost all of them have receivers if you don't have the telecoil. And you can pick up the receiver and use headphones or ear buds. Your choice after that. But the problem there is if you don't have hearing aids, you're not getting our own personal sound system. Hearing aids are programmed to assist specifically for our hearing loss. And that way we get the sound according to our own needs. So that's why it's more preferred for the hearing aids and the telecoil.
Michele: One other thing is you don't have to have hearing loss and wear hearing aids to use hearing loops. I donated a pair of loop buds to the silent auction for the SayWhatClub and a hearing spouse bet on them and won them. And Thomas Kaufman did our keynote speaker, he was our keynote speaker that year at the convention and he was talking about how everyone should experience a hearing loop because it brings the sound right there and because it blocks out the background noise. And especially for things like music concerts. Experiencing the sound is so much more enhanced, and a hearing loop that hearing people should really try it. And you know, maybe if we got more hearing people on board with wanting hearing loops, they would be more mainstream.
Julia: Makes me think about that business who may be remodeling their conference room or their boardroom, they should really actually look into adding a loop for whatever reasons, you know, not just to help somebody, well to help somebody with a hearing loss, but so that other people can use it to drown out the extra noise that sometimes happens in a board meeting. That that's, if employers would just get on board and just have it there and you know, loops on you can use your earbuds you can use T-coil, it was just normal everywhere. That went through my head when you were the people should think about it. When you're remodeling that business this year, think about a loop at least in one of your conference rooms. If not all. Chelle?
Chelle: Yes, you know there is a cost associated with laying a hearing loop and it's probably going to be the only cost you need for a long, long time. You don't ever have to lay it again. If it gets, sometimes they get cut by people laying new carpet or something, then it might need a small attachment or, I don't know what to call it like where you fill it in again. And the only other thing I've seen go bad was a driver. Eventually the driver wears out. You have to replace that, but it's not like replacing the whole loop system is just one component. And one place I was at lightning struck their building. Fried the driver. So they needed a new driver to get it going again.
Julia: I do remember using the FM system versus the loop, and as a hearing person I think the loop sound is much clearer than using an FM system. In person type situations, I do prefer a loop for the sound versus an FM system, I do think there's a huge difference. I agree there.
Chelle: There is a big difference. It makes a huge difference. I mean, like I mentioned a while back that Saturday Night Live, the captions are so far behind that it's, it's not keeping up with the action on the TV. So that's when I use my loop. I go into a loop, and I can lipread because most of the time they're facing the camera and use the sound. I don't think an FM system would do it as well as the loop.
Julia: Here's the weird question. So Bluetooth, here's my issue with Bluetooth, when I use it on my computer, or my phone or whatever, I can get interference. So something can pick up the signal and it cuts it out. Have you ever been in a looped room where you think that oh, wait a minute, this is not what I I don't know if that interference can happen with a loop? Do you know? I know it can happen with FM system. Right? if memory serves.
Chelle: I can't remember the FM system because it's been so long since I've done that. But with a loop, you are limited to the room that's been looped. If there's metal interference it draws away that magnetic signal. So they have to work extra hard on laying the loop to be stronger than the interference. What that means is they're probably doing a lot of little loops in the room to to make the sound quality clear. In my, before we got my living room looped, Ken had me walk around in my T-coil before buying it, to see how loud the metal interference was in the house. So I learned the kitchen horrible hum. Downstairs horrible hum. The back, just the east of the house has a horrible hum for some reason and I don't know why. But in the living room, it's only like a little bit of a hum. So that was kind of how we tested to see if the living room could handle a temporary loop. Julia: Any other thoughts? Chelle: Just that Bluetooth. I had the necklace. My hearing aids are old so I don't have a direct Bluetooth connection like hearing aids do now, which I hope to fix soon because I really gotta reason to try Bluetooth hearing aids now again, and I'll let you guys know about that later. [laughing] But the Bluetooth my first gripe about it was that it drained the battery on my phone. Because I had to turn it on my phone and then it went to this necklace thing here and then it went up to my hearing aids. So my phone battery was was going fast my neck thing battery drained fairly fast and I couldn't keep it charged. So that's why I preferred the living room loop over Bluetooth streaming. The sound is just as clear. A long time ago some guy told me he got Bluetooth hearing aids and the audiologist gave him a TV Bluetooth streamer to pick it up. He was so happy with the quality of sound he was getting from that, that he was going through a pair of hearing aid batteries a day. [laughing] I think, you know, he just hadn't heard TV in so long like that that he was watching TV all day long. Just fascinated with the clarity of sound. So Bluetooth has its place and I think the battery drain is not as bad anymore. It seems like my phone hold a Bluetooth charge a lot longer than they used to. So that was a reason why I chose to loop over Bluetooth streaming. But I'm stepping up and going to be trying something new.
Julia: Thank you. I think when Bluetooth came out, I think people in the hearing realm audiologist, audiology jumped the gun. Now why we haven't been looped as long as a lot of places in Europe is beyond me because that wasn't old technology then. But I think when Bluetooth came out, I kind of equate it to steno writers. I have heard since I started school in 1995. I am an obsolete profession. Speech-to-text is going to take us over, it's going to take its place, why would you even go there? Again, from first day of school in 1995, I've been hearing this, I'm still waiting for that to happen. And when AI can caption that third, that somebody's laughing, or there's discussion in the background, I am happy to turn over my profession to AI and I will get my caravan and become homeless or whatever I want to do. Anyways, in the meantime, it's not a dying profession. But I think audiologists kind of did the same thing, Bluetooth is going to be the new thing, we're not going to need telecoils. Hearing aid companies did the same thought process. We can make a lot more money. And I'm not trying to be judgmental, I'm just trying to show the honesty of it's really, really important, if your client says I want telecoil, give them a telecoil. It's important. If you want to loop in your office, in your airport, in your Playhouse, local Playhouse, it's important that you you find those who are using it and how you get a loop, install it, and it's, you know, people change, money, all of that plays a factor. So there's all that involved. But but when you can show, it really can make a difference. It does make a difference. And Ido I remember the first time Kathy Evans, one of our local Hearing Loss Association, chapter members, and one of my greatest mentors honestly asked about telecoils. And I think it was I'm sure it was an HLAA meeting. And she went around the room and one person was like, what's that? next person? I don't need those. I don't have a landline. The next person. So my, my audiologist says that doesn't need, we don't need those anymore. It's old technology. And it was, there was not one other person other than Kathy in that room who knew what a telecoil was. And it was a larger group that time and and, again, up until even last year, I can remember talking at a online chat with Sanderson Center and people still not knowing what a telecoil was. Even though Utah has legislation, Chelle I think you were involved with some of that, Audiologists have to inform patients what a telecoil is and give them options. And, and I sadly, I still don't think that clients know when they when the audiologist is telling them how important that telecoil might be for many different reasons. And so, the audiologist is able to kind of play it down, I'm afraid. I don't know. I don't think it's old technology in any way. Michele?
Michele: If I'm not mistaken, I think some states have laws on their books that require audiologists to mention telecoils to their clients and patients. I'm just wondering right now, how many states do that. It's kind of sad that we need a law for audiologists to do that. Hopefully they do it on their own a lot of them, but I know some don't. But um, do you have any idea how many states have those laws in place?
Chelle: I don't know how many. I know that Loop-Utah worked for a bill for telecoil and asking audiologist to mention the telecoil and its benefits. But it got switched up at the last minute to be assistive listening technology. Audiologist needed to mention Assistive Listening technology because a lot of people don't. One of my favorite things to do is when people came in and they want to know more about a hearing loop at the Sanderson Center, I tell them go to your audiologist find out if you have a telecoil program, get a dedicated toilet telecoil programming come back. So they would and they check and you know, a handful of them would have it. And I bring them into the loop room and I would turn my back and talk into the microphone. And they would understand me without lipreading and just the awe on their faces. It's like oh my gosh, this is so great. So I found the Get in the Loop. Get in the Hearing Loop Program. It's with the HLAA on their website if you go to hearingloss.org and you go to programs and events, and then you click on Get in the Hearing Loop, you can find out a lot more information on hearing loops. And maybe there we can find more about the laws and if audiologists have to mention them or not.
Julia: Thank you for finding that for us Chelle. Any more thoughts? I missed the captions. I didn't see what it said. But it's it's funny. [laughing] I got to figure out how to capture those so we can have some more bloopers. Well, I thank you for joining us. Next week is Christmas. So just enjoy our blog on our talk about Christmas adventures. We will have a short where we're going to talk about our Christmas adventures growing up in the blog, the short will be a little shorter and more, more funny and maybe I'll find some good Christmas theater stuff for it. Anything else before I close it up girls? Well, thank you for joining us here at hearing loss live. We hope you are enjoying our series. January starts New Year right and we're looking forward to a whole lot of self advocacy coming up. So stick with us. Happy Holidays, whatever they are. Thank you for joining us remember to share us on your social media and good night. Hearing Loss LIVE! thanks you for your ongoing support. Happy holidays.