This is the most uninteresting picture that has been posted on this blog but it shows one of the best improvements to St. Mary’s. Sound has always been a problem in our church. The circular configuration and high dome are a huge challenge for clear sound, even with a good sound system. In a previous post I talked the physical improvements that have been made to help with sound. Now we can talk about the sound loop.
I have encountered many people with hearing aids who say, sadly, that they gave up trying to hear anything in St. Mary’s. Most hearing aids simply amplify the ambient sound in a given space. In a large church environment there are a lot of high and low tones to process through a hearing aid. However, there is a piece of technology in most hearing aids that changes the rules of the game. It’s called a Telecoil.
What is a Telecoil?
A telecoil in a hearing aid functions as a wireless antenna that links to the sound system and delivers customized sound to the listener. A telecoil is a small copper coil that is an option in most hearing aids and is built into cochlear implant processors. Telecoils also known as t-coils and were originally used to boost the magnetic signals from the telephone handset. The telecoil is activated by a t-switch. All landline and some cell phones are designed by law to be used with a telecoil.
The t-coil can make a noticeable difference in a person’s life when combined with hearing assistive technology such as the hearing loop. This pairing of technology bridges the space between you and the sound source. The hearing loop connects the listener directly to the sound source while most of the background noise is eliminated.
What is a Hearing Loop?
A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room and is connected to a sound system. The loop transmits the sound electromagnetically. The electromagnetic signal is then picked up by the telecoil in the hearing aid or cochlear implant. The picture above shows the wire that has been placed into grooves in the concrete all over St. Mary’s.
To use a hearing loop, you flip on the t-switch on the hearing aid or cochlear implant to activate the telecoil. Usually, no additional receiver or equipment is needed. Using a telecoil and hearing loop together is seamless, cost-effective, unobtrusive, and you don’t have to seek additional equipment. Hearing loops are also called audio-induction loops, audio loops, or loops. If your hearing aid doesn’t have a telecoil, you will need a headset plugged into a loop receiver to achieve the same effect.
What will I need to do to use it the T-coil?
People who use hearing aids should check with their audiologist to see if their hearing aid has a telecoil. He or she can get everything set up. If your current hearing aid does not have telecoil, you should be able to price one that does.
You’ll see this symbol in St. Mary’s that will tell folks about the availability of the T-coil. Please help spread the word about this great piece of technology in our renewed church.