What is a loop system and how does it help?
Have you ever seen this sign when you’ve been out and about? Do you know what it means?
It means that there is a loop system fitted nearby.
What’s a loop system?
Loop systems can help you hear better in certain situations, both out and about and at home.
They produce magnetic fields which are picked up by your hearing aid. And the T programme converts these into sounds which you can hear.
Loop systems work with the T programme on a hearing aid. You may not know you have this programme – in fact it may not be set on your hearing aid. But it is easy to get the T programme on your hearing aid. Just ask your audiologist to do this for you.
Cochlear implants can also have the T programme and you can get a special adaptor for bone conduction hearing implants.
How do I turn my telecoil on?
Your audiologist needs to set the T programme on your hearing aids, and then you will be able to use it.
You can see if it has been switched on by checking which listening programmes your hearing aid has. Use the push-button on the back of your hearing aid. If you press the button and nothing changes then you probably only have one listening programme activated.
Next time you visit your audiologist ask them to activate the T programme. They will show you which listening programme they have added it to so you know how many times to push the button to find it.
Talk to your audiologist about whether you want only sound from the loop system to come through when it’s turned on. Or whether you’d still like your hearing aid’s own microphone switched on so you can also hear sounds around you as well. This is called the M/T setting.
If you have a cochlear implant or a bone conduction hearing implant ask your audiologist how you use the T programme. You may need an adaptor which your audiologist should give you.
Then you’re ready to go. You can use the programme whenever you see the loop system sign, or with a neck loop with your own equipment.
How can I use loops when I’m out?
Loop systems are a way of hearing sounds clearer in public places where there might be lots of background noise. Or the person you’re listening to is far away or behind a glass screen, like in a bank.
There are loop systems fitted in lots of public places like:
- railway stations
- theatres and cinemas
- supermarket checkouts
- post offices
- banks/building societies
How can I use loops when I’m at home?
There are also lots of ways to use loop systems at home that can help you listen to music, make phone calls and watch TV.
You can use these with any equipment that has a socket to plug in headphones including:
- mobile phones
- computers and tablets
- game consoles
- MP3 players.
Instead of standard headphones you can use silent ‘T’ headphones or plug in a neck loop or ear hooks. All work well with the T programme on your hearing aids.
These are often much clearer than using standard headphones and mean you don’t have to take your hearing aids out first.
Lots of equipment like mobile phones and computers have Bluetooth built in. You can use a Bluetooth neckloop to wirelessly stream sound from the Bluetooth device straight to your hearing aids as long as they have the T programme set.
- Sometimes loop systems are called by other names, including ‘magnetic induction’, ‘induction loop’, ‘hearing loop’, ‘inductive neck loop’, or ‘inductive coupler’. So if you see these words used on equipment you know you can use your hearing aid’s T programme to hear better.
- The T programme on your hearing aid works when there is a loop system nearby. But don’t forget to turn back to your normal listening programme when you’re done!
- The T programme can sometimes pick up a buzzing noise from other electrical equipment nearby like computers, strip lighting, or other loop systems. If this happens, try moving your position slightly. That can help a lot of the time.
- You might find a loop system out and about that is switched off or not working properly. Make sure you tell someone so they can turn it on or fix it.
- Sometimes your audiology clinic, education or social services department will provide loops, neck loops or ear hooks for free. Other people pay for them themselves. It’s worth asking if you can try their equipment!
- If you want to try out a neck loop, ear hooks, Bluetooth neckloop, hearing aid compatible phone or a digital streamer for free before you think about buying one contact our Technology Test Drive loan service.
Got a question?
Do you have any questions about loop systems, or about other technology that could help? We’d be happy to answer them! Just send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).