Making Santa Barbara one of the most hearing accessible cities in California.
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Hearing Loop - Switch hearing aid to T-Coil

Frequently Asked Questions about Hearing Loops

  • Why are assistive listening systems
  • needed?

Approximately 20% (48 million) of American adults

have some form of hearing loss in at least one ear,

making it the most prevalent form of disability in the

United States. Despite legislation and available

technology to provide access, many individuals find

their communication needs to be misunderstood and

unaddressed. Consequently, they seriously cut back

on attendance, reducing audience size at

performances, events, meetings and religious

services throughout our community.

 

 

  • Are assistive listening systems required by law?

Most places of worship, schools, and businesses have

made themselves accessible to the visible minority of

people in wheelchairs. For less money, they can also

make themselves optimally accessible to the large,

but largely invisible number of people with hearing

loss, about 90,000 people just in Santa Barbara

county, and thus comply with the Americans with

Disabilities Act.

 

 

  • What is a hearing loop?

Hearing loop systems take sound straight from the

source and deliver it right into the listener's hearing

aid without extraneous noise or blurring. To them, it

sounds like the speaker is right in their head. It turns

their hearing aids into wireless earphones that

broadcast sound customized for their hearing loss.

 

Hearing Loops are the only assistive listening

system to send clear, pure sound directly to

hearing aids. They are the international

standard for universal hearing access.

 

 

  • How do you use the hearing loop?

All the user needs to do is switch his or her hearing aid to the "T", telephone, or hearing loop program.

All but the very smallest modern hearing aids tend to be supplied with an internal t-coil. However,

may not have been enabled when the device was initially programmed. If the user is not sure whether

his or her hearing aid has a t-coil and/or does not know how to access the T program, his or her audiologist

or hearing aid specialist will be able to advise.

 

 

  • Can a hearing loop be used by someone without a hearing aid?

Yes, there are portable receivers available. They are not as convenient to use as a hearing aid with a

built-in t-coil and are not fine-tuned to suit individual patterns of hearing, but can still be helpful to people

with hearing loss who do not wish to wear hearing aids on a regular basis.

 

 

  • Where can hearing loops be used?

Hearing loops have almost infinite applications. They can be used in theaters, auditoriums, churches,

class rooms, at ticket counters, drive-thru windows, banks, doctor's offices, pharmacies, and even with home TVs.

 

 

  • When were hearing loops invented?

The first hearing aid ever equipped with a telecoil was developed in 1936 to help with hearing on the telephone.

The first patent for an induction hearing loop was filed in 1937, but the benefits with the technology at the time

were limited. In the 1960s and 1970s, experimentation with these systems was very prevalent in Scandinavia.

Univox, one of the leading hearing loop manufacturers, was founded in 1965 and developed the first true

hearing loop amplifier in 1969. During this time, hearing loops were installed in places of worship and schools.

In 1987, Ampetronic opened their doors in the United Kingdom and developed the first phased array hearing

loop system in 1991. In the mid-2000s, further advancements were made with computer modeling of the

magnetic fields sent out by hearing loops as well as in audio processing to optimize the sound quality and

help with compensating metal loss. In 2006, the new IEC 60118-4 standard was released, which dictates the

performance standard for hearing loops to date.

 

 

  • Are hearing loops going to be replaced soon?

In October 2013, the 3rd International Hearing Loop Conference in the United Kingdom was attended by more

than 200 industry experts. The concluding statement of the conference was that currently, no new technology

is on the horizon that is as cost-efficient and universal and creates equal access for individuals with hearing loss

with such simplicity as hearing loop technology. Per Kokholm Sorensen, Director of Research & Development for

Widex, German hearing loop engineer Hannes Seidler, psychology professor and hearing loop advocate David

Myers, as well as Cynthia Compton-Conley, former audiology professor and one of the leading authorities on

assistive listening technology in the United States, all concluded that it will be a long time before Bluetooth or

any other alternative wireless connectivity can match the virtues of hearing loops.

 

 

  • Where are hearing loops installed already?

In the vicinity, there are hearing loops in several locations including UCSB’s Campbell Hall and the Santa

Barbara Museum of Art’s Mary Craig Auditorium. A comprehensive list can be found under Locations.

A national database can be found at www.aldlocator.com. Hearing loops are widely accepted across the

UK and Scandinavia where you can find them in virtually every place where information is verbally communicated.

Loop Santa Barbara is funded through The Hearing Loop Fund, a fiscally sponsored fund of the Santa Barbara Foundation, with support from the following organizations:
Santa Barbara Foundation logo OTOjOY - If ears could smile... logo Get in the Hearing Loop logo American Academy of Audiology logo Hearing Loss Association of America logo
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