Hearing Loops – Chicago

Hearing Loops for hearing aids in Chicago

What is a hearing loop? Why are so many people interested in increasing the number of hearing loops in public spaces? As a leading provider of hearing aids in Chicago, we frequently get questions about hearing loops. Watch these short (1-2 minute) videos to get a sense of what a hearing loop can do:

 

 

hearing loop

The difference is obvious. Using a hearing loop makes a dramatic difference in the ability to hear in a large space or in the presence of background noise. How does this work?

A hearing loop is basically a copper wire that loops around a seating area, and receives direct audio input from a microphone, television, or other audio device. This loop produces a signal that can be detected by a telecoil inside of a hearing aid. As a result, the audio input is directly transmitted into the hearing aid, without interference from ambient noises or echoes.

Not every hearing aid has a telecoil. Without a telecoil, your hearing aid can’t receive the signal from a loop. If this is something you’re interested in, you should talk with Dr. Dawn about it when you’re selecting your hearing aids in Chicago. If you don’t currently have a telecoil, but want to try one out, you can do a hearing aid test drive with hearing aids that contain telecoils. This will allow you to see for yourself what it’s like to use a hearing loop.

Where are induction loops located?

You can have any area “looped,” even in your own home! Some people choose to have their living room looped, with the TV as the audio source. This allows the family to watch TV together, without having to choose between setting the volume too high for the family members of normal hearing or too low for those with hearing loss.

However, loops are most commonly used in public spaces, such as theaters, churches, and auditoriums. The more distant you are from the sound source, the more ambient noise may interfere with your ability to hear clearly. Large spaces often create echoes, which can make it difficult to hear clearly. In addition, noisy public spaces (such as airports and train stations) tend to have a lot of ambient noise that interferes with the ability to hear. In these types of environments, hearing loops are particularly beneficial.

In the Chicago area, the following large theaters are looped:

  • Northlight Theater of North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
  • The Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire
  • Metropolis Performing Art Centre in Arlington Heights
  • Theatre of Western Springs in Western Springs

Those using telecoil-enabled hearing aids in Chicago may find that the experience at these theaters is superior to the experience in those without loops. This is not an exhaustive list, and public spaces are adding hearing loops on a regular basis. There are also many private places of worship and residential communities that have their large meeting halls looped. Call us for a more comprehensive list, or if you would like more information on how to loop your organization’s meeting rooms.

Do you have to have hearing loss to use a hearing loop?

Even people of normal hearing can benefit from hearing loops. Earbuds or headphones that contain a telecoil can be used to pick up the signal from the loop. Many people have experienced the frustration of trying to listen to a public address system in a noisy space and being unable to hear important announcements, or struggling to hear the performers in a crowded theater. Adding hearing loops benefits everyone.

Here in the United States, there is a campaign called Loop America. The goal is to increase the number of induction loops in public spaces in the U.S., such as theaters, museums, airports, and train terminals. Europe has many public places “looped for the hearing impaired,” and the Loop America campaign aims to increase the number of looped spaces in the U.S.

To learn more about how people with hearing loss benefit from hearing loops, check out this beautifully written article, “A Hearing Aid That Cuts Out All That Clatter.”

If you would like a consultation to find out whether your hearing aids in Chicago work with induction loop systems, or to try out a pair that do in a hearing aid test drive, call us at (630) 930-1025.