Hearing Loop

David G. Myers talking about his first experience with hearing loops.

Below is David G. Myers Acceptance Speech from his Oticon Focus on People Awards Luncheon, May 16, 2013

In 1999, while worshiping at Scotland’s Iona Abbey, I could not understand the reverberating words.  My wife, noticing a hearing loop sign, nudged me to turn on the telecoils in my new aids.  The instant result was a stunningly clear voice speaking from the center of my head.  I was on the verge of tears.

In our subsequent UK sojourns, I have seen hearing loops spread to cathedrals and churches, to auditoriums, and to service points, such as ticket windows, post offices, and all London taxis.

Back home, I installed hearing loops in my home and office, enabling my TV and phone to broadcast wonderfully clear sound through my aids.

As you well know, other technologies also connect people to their phones and TVs.  Where hearing loops excel, and complement proprietary wireless technologies, is in public settings.  And that is the focus of our national hearing loop movement, which aims to double hearing instrument functionality—by enabling aids and implants to serve as wireless speakers for the broadcast of sound in public venues.

Thanks to a growing army of volunteer advocates and professional installers, we now have thousands of recently looped venues.

  • Some are small, such as New York City’s 450 subway booths, all its future taxis, and likely all future U.S. passenger rail and subway cars,
  • Some are bigger, such as worship places, auditoriums, and now this room.
  • And some are huge, such as airports and Michigan State University’s basketball arena.

The advantages of these hearing loops include:

  • their simplicity of use.  They are directly hearing aid compatible, with no need to seek out or fuss with extra equipment.
  • their affordability—thanks to the virtually free telecoil.
  • their energy efficiency—with no hearing aid battery power consumed.
  • their scalability—from pharmacy counters to arenas, and, most importantly,
  • their universality—their working in public places for potentially any hearing instrument wearer in any country.

So on behalf of my fellow hearing advocates, I encourage you who are hearing care providers to support this hearing assistance movement

  • by installing a demonstration hearing loop in your office,
  • by giving your patients telecoils, and
  • by educating both your patients and your community

And I encourage you, Oticon and your sister companies, to continue supporting our effort to double the usefulness of hearing instruments—by designing and marketing aids with telecoils in a loop-friendly orientation.

Given the support of hearing consumers, of hearing professionals, and of the hearing industry, I envision a transformed future . . .

  • a future with a universal wireless receiver—a telecoil—in virtually every hearing instrument,
  • a future where demand will grow for hearing aids, which will serve as customized, wireless speakers in all sorts of public venues,
  • a future where doubly useful hearing aids for challenged ears will become as commonplace as glasses for challenged eyes, and, therefore,
  • a future where the hearing industry and those it serves will all flourish.

And I thank you all for collaborating with those of us in the hearing loss community to make that dream come true.

David G. Myers   —   www.davidmyers.org and hearingloop.org

 

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Why does sound seem so much clearer when I hear it through the loop?

By Loop’n Lou Touchette, Scottsdale, AZ
In a room where the sound is delivered directly from speakers, the sound makes a number of stops on it’s way to your ears. It has lunch at the ceiling, dinner on each of the walls and maybe a light breakfast at the floor with snacks on the furniture. As a result, the sounds all arrive at your ears at slightly different times. This results in a significant loss of clarity. Consider too, the quality of the speakers themselves. TV Manufactures do not usually install high quality Bose type speakers. They try to keep the cost down by buying somewhat lesser quality ones they may have obtained from some third world country.

Sounds from speakers often have a lot of bass or treble which can be somewhat adjusted. But, that still leaves a lot to be desired. Each of us with a hearing loss has a somewhat different category of loss. Most of us (90%) have high frequency hearing loss so we might prefer that speakers be adjusted to enhance the high tones. Others of us with low frequency hearing loss find those piercing high tones uncomfortable and would prefer that the speakers produce more bass (low) tones.

Now, here is why voices sound so much better when heard through a loop. Sound bypasses the speakers and is delivered directly to the loop amplifier in it’s purest form (No detouring to stop for a bite to eat). The loop amplifier sends this pure crisp beautiful sound out through the loop in a field of magnetic energy. Our telecoils recognize this energy and delivers it directly to the computer function of our hearing aids where it is processed and corrected according to how our hearing aids, cochlear implant, etc was programmed. The sound is then delivered in it’s purest form, directly to the cochlea of our ears.

 

Questions about Hearing Loops:

 

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