Getting it right for hearing
Getting it right for hearing

A hearing loop (also sometimes known as an ‘induction loop’) directs sound straight into your hearing aids without the need for any other device to be used. It should be a discreee, hassle-free system to use. Special headphones should be offered if you do not have hearing aids.

Hearing loops use invisible electromagnetic waves to direct sound into hearing aid. The loop system consists of a microphone, an amplifier and a wire which acts as an antenna, radiating the magnetic signal. The wire can be placed round an area of almost any size – huge or tiny. For instance, they can be made available at customer service desks in shops or banks. They can also be placed around the whole of a church, a large hall, a theatre or a meeting room.

Hearing loops are compatible with all hearing aids that have a T-setting (telecoil). Sometimes this is known as the ‘Loop setting’. If you’re not sure if your hearing aid has a ‘T-setting’ or ‘Loop setting’, ask your hearing aid provider.

Main types of hearing loop are:


Fixed 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

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 loops

Can be made available in locations where it wouldn’t be practical to install a fixed loop or counter loop. They should be used with care as they have a very limited range of reach (often just a metre) and can also impact on dignity if it isn’t ready to use without having to be asked for.  Another problem is that parts of the portable loop can 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.


Ensure your hearing aid 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.

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

Things to look out for

  •  A hearing loop should be discreet and hassle-free so people can use it without others being aware
  •  A sign should indicate that a hearing loop is in place
  •  It should be switched on and ready to use
  •  It should give crystal clear sound at moderate volume
  •  Staff should know how to work it, and should have a process in place to react effectively if a fault is reported

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.

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