Hearing access specialists
Hearing access specialists

An illustration of 7 people sitting round a table with a set of microphones between them

What is a hearing loop?

A hearing loop (also sometimes known as an ‘induction loop’) directs sound straight into compatible hearing aids or cochlear implants, without the need for any other device to be used. It is (or should be) a discreet, hassle-free system for people to use.

A properly working hearing loop will give the user a relaxing, comfortable listening experience.  It will be more pleasant and clearer than the sound through a loudspeaker or from someone speaking without a hearing loop being used.

Inaudible except by those purposely using it

Hearing loops use invisible electromagnetic waves to beam sound directly into the hearing aid or cochlear implant. They are compatible with all hearing devices that have a T-setting or telecoil programme (sometimes known as the ‘Loop setting’ or ‘T-loop’).

The user has to switch their hearing aid or cochlear implant to the T-setting to receive the sound.

Most hearing aids have this option but the feature might not be activated.  People not sure if they have a T-setting should check with their audiologist or hearing aid provider.

Use a hearing loop

Cover of In The Loop Part 1People using a hearing loop should have a wonderful listening experience.  It should be more relaxing and clearer than sound coming through a loudspeaker or coming from someone not speaking into a hearing loop.

If the sound isn’t pleasant and clear, something is wrong.  This can (and should) be fixed.

In The Loop (Part 1) is a brilliant booklet for:

  • people who have never used a hearing loop
  • people who use them all the time but want a better experience

In the Loop for Part 1 for hearing aid users (external link)

Help others to use a hearing loop

Cover of In The Loop Part 2Hearing loops have been around for a long time but are often badly treated and so deliver poor experiences to users.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about how they work – and a lot of mystery about what people using them experience.

In the Loop (Part 2) gives essential and easy-to-understand information for:

  • customer-facing staff
  • managers – including customer service managers, team leaders, HR staff, and facility managers

In the Loop Part 2 for staff and managers (external link)

Main types of hearing loop

lecture

Fitted or fixed room loop

Can be used discretely by any number of people within the hearing loop area. They can be made available in theatres, community halls, meeting rooms and other places where groups of people congregate to listen to the same thing.

counter loop

Service point counter loops

Can be made available at customer service desks, in banks and other places where one-to-one conversation is needed. They can also be made available via intercom systems, e.g. in taxis, at drive-through kiosks, on train station platforms.

hearing loop

Portable table top loops

Can be made available in locations where it wouldn’t be practical to install a room loop or counter loop.  Use with care as they tend to have very limited range (often just a metre) and can also impact on dignity.  There is also a real risk that parts of the loop will get separated and become lost.

Home loops

You can buy hearing loops for personal use in your home. For example, to direct the TV or other audio sound sources straight into your hearing aids.

Quick tips for loop users

Ensure your hearing aid (or cochlear implant) has a T-setting
A good hearing loop will give you a great listening experience – and is likely to make it easier and more relaxing to hear even if you have the best available hearing aids.

Is the problem your hearing aid?
If you get a poor experience, check a few other hearing loops to see if the problem might be your hearing aid.

Don’t have a T-setting?
Most digital hearing aids have this capability but you sometimes have to ask/remind your hearing aid provider to activate it. It is typically quick and easy to do.

Not got hearing aids?
Some venues may make ‘personal listeners’ available, which is a small phone-sized receiver (often known as a ‘streamer’) which is connected to a headset that allows you to listen in to the sound that is coming through the hearing loop.

Useful pointers for staff and managers

  1. Illustration showing a woman at a podium speaking into a microphoneA hearing loop should allow people to use it without having to ask or make others aware
  2.  Signage should be in place to indicate that a hearing loop is available and where users should position themselves to use it
  3.  It should be switched on and ready to use at the start of every day
  4.  It should be checked each week to ensure it continues to work well
  5.  You should know how to work it, and have a process in place to react effectively if a fault is reported

Explore other assistive listening systems

Hearing loops are the most popular and the most commonly assistive listening system.  However, there are occasions when other systems might be more effective or appropriate.

Infrared systems

FM systems

Digital systems

Illustration of a training session

Advice & training

Ideas for Ears provides advice and training to facility managers and customer care teams to assist them in assessing the needs of customers and service users.

Let us help you make a great impact.

Find out how we can assist your organisation