Hearing Loops: Are They Better than Infrared or FM?

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Frequency modulation (FM), like in radio and Infrared (IF), similar to a TV remote, has been the traditional form of assistive listening and communication for many years. Both systems are inexpensive compared to a loop system, but neither gives a satisfactory experience like a Loop System.

 

So what makes a loop system unique in terms of assistive listening? Here's something most clients need to understand:

 

"Some places have told us that they already have a loop system. There is some misconception in many venues. Usually, we were notified that there was already a loop system. However, they were referring to an individual neckloop worn around the neck that functions with t-coils.

These neckloops are connected to the FM or IR system in the room. The sound via these neckloops is often inadequate to static over the radio waves. The loop "wire" is below the hearing aid/t-coil; the result is most often sounds coming and going because there is a "null" when one is over a loop wire. This is because sounds bounce from the neckloop rather than directly to the hearing aid."

The misconception on Hearing Loop is that these installations are identical. They are not.

Understanding hearing loops

The user walks into the venue, turns on the t-coil set on their hearing aid, and appreciates the event, production, or discourse. The sound is sent from the loop directly to the hearing aid with no background noise, ambient noise, reverberation, or static.

 

Most users mention that they hear the speaker as though it is right in their heads, and the sounds are more audible and crisp. And they would be accurate since the loop transmits the sound straight to the hearing aid.

 

A hearing loop system does not need a headset or neckloop for the t-coil-equipped hearing aid user. The loop system benefits the user's hearing aid.

About FM or Infrared Systems

FM (radio frequency) and Infrared (IR) have been the conventional forms of assistive listening for a long time. Both are relatively reasonable compared to a loop system. However, neither FM nor Infrared systems provide the user with a quality experience.

 

When using an FM or Infrared system, the user must take off their hearing aids to wear a headset which most people do not want to do. There are battery issues, sanitary concerns, and static feedback from using them. The user has to take the time and struggle to return the headsets from the organizers.

 

Both FM and Infrared boost the sound, while hearing loops provide the sounds that the users need and adjust to their liking.

 

One more thing about neckloops since more hard-of-hearing users are elderly; there might be issues with pacemaker users. If one has an insulin pump, pacemaker, or other medical device, manufacturers advise against using neckloops for fear of interference with the current device. Venues within a hearing loop field do not pose a risk. Only having the magnetic field close to the pacemaker might cause a potential issue.

 

Conclusion

 

Now that you understand the different installations, we can proudly propose that hearing loops are better venue options. Hearing loops are the future of assistive listening, and we can also provide the necessary service for your venue or location. Although FM and Infrared technology are viable solutions, we highly recommend hearing loops.

 

To learn more and get a quote for your venue, send us your information with a floor plan, and we can give you a quotation. You can also find other solutions and learn more about induction loop systems.

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Where are Audio Induction Loops used?

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We have discussed why Hearing loops or assistive listening technologies are a requirement in new buildings and renovations. These hearing loops help transmit to those with hearing loss by sending sound sources directly and removing the background noise. Further reading: How loop systems work?

What is a Hearing Induction Loop?

A hearing loop (often called an audio induction loop) is a unique sound system used by people with hearing aids. They produce a signal that connects directly to a Telecoil-enabled hearing aid, enabling people with hearing loss to listen to clear, intelligible sound regardless of the background noise or the distance to the sound they want to hear.

Where can induction loops be used?

Hearing loops can benefit those hard of hearing in multiple environments, from large venues such as theatres and conference rooms to teaching areas, meeting spaces, and one-to-one transmissions such as reception desks and ticketing counters. They are the best sensible solution to help hearing aid users in public spaces.

 

Where can hearing loops be used?

  • Work: Meeting and conference facilities, desks, and offices
  • Schools:: Lecture halls, classrooms
  • Transportation systems: Trains and bus stations, airports, and transport networks, elevators, help points, car park access points
  • Vehicles: MRTS and LRTs, Taxis and private cars, minibusses, coaches, maybe boats.
  • Venues: Movie Theatres, cinemas and concert halls, stadia and sports venues, places of worship, conference and lecture halls
  • Point-of-Service: Counters, intercoms and entry phones, help points, and drive-through restaurants.
  • Safety: Public areas, voice alarm systems
  • Home: TV rooms, phones, individual car systems

 

Hearing loop systems are not suitable if:

  • There is significant background noise, which will decrease the effectiveness of any assistive listening system.
  • There is no sensible way to install the loop cable
  • There is no clearly defined, intelligible audio source
  • Electrical devices such as electric guitars or bass guitars are used within the area surrounded by the loop.

How do you specify an induction loop system?

Specifying which loop system is needed has traditionally been worked out by the area size. However, area size alone is not the exact condition to base specification. A professional must consider a variety of factors to specify a hearing induction loop system, such as:

  • Size of the site where it will be situated to define which type of driver is required.
  • Is there magnetic background noise? Electrical equipment and mains wiring can generate interference with hearing aids using the 'T' setting.
  • Is there surrounding metal in the infrastructure of the building which could impact the loop signal?
  • Ensure the loop signals do not overlap if there is more than one induction loop installed, as this can comprise privacy.
  • Users' head positioning, standing, and seating arrangements must be considered when positioning the induction loop aerials.

Using a user-focused method founded on each area's requirements will specify and provide a loop system with a faultless listening experience.

The Hearing Enhancement System by the Listening Lab is the most professional AV distributor and is the sole provider of Induction Loops and Assistive Listening Technology Systems in Singapore. View the installation process or contact us to learn more.

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What is a Hearing Loop?

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Hearing loss is quite common in Singapore. It affects as many as 360,000 persons, and with the aging population, it is expected to increase. Now, more than ever, there are more hearing aid users, as 1 in 11 Singaporeans have hearing loss.

 

Attending huge events and conferences is daunting as a hearing aid user because listening to and understanding the speakers can be difficult. The great news is that Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA) implemented the Code on Accessibility for Buildings (2013).

 

It means that part of the requirements for this code required new buildings and buildings undergoing A&A works (Additions & Alternations) to install with Hearing Enhancement Systems.

 

The Hearing Enhancement System by the Listening Lab provides solutions for buildings and structures, one of which is the installation of the Hearing Loop.

How does a Loop System work?

A hearing loop (often called an audio induction loop) is a unique sound system used by people with hearing aids. They produce a signal that connects directly to a Telecoil-enabled hearing aid, enabling people with hearing loss to listen to clear, intelligible sound regardless of the background noise or the distance to the sound they want to hear.

 

Hearing Loops function by creating an alternating magnetic field at audio frequencies, which provides an input signal for a Telecoil-enabled hearing aid, cochlear implant, or handheld receiver.

 

A common place to encounter an area coverage loop facility is a conference room. As many as one in every six people experience hearing loss. The most common hearing loop system is a perimeter loop, where the cable is laid around the room's perimeter to cover the entire area.

 

Hearing Loop

 

Loop System process in a conference room:

  1. The speaker uses a dedicated handheld microphone to capture their voice. The signal is transferred to the amplifier when the sound source is captured.
  2. The amplifiers' current delivered to the loop system creates a magnetic field that transmits an audio frequency. International standards stipulate field strength and consistency throughout the listening area.
  3. The magnetic field induces a current in the Telecoil, which is then translated into audio by the hearing aid, transferring sounds directly to the ear canal using the hearing aid's speaker.

What if my building is a modern building containing many metals?

Building owners can't always use a perimeter loop around a room that contains metal because the hearing loop's magnetic field absorbs sounds. Such issues can be resolved using modern design tools and loop layouts that address magnetic field degradation and signal spill.

 

For assistance and advice on hearing loop technology, system design, and educational training, The Hearing Enhancement System by the Listening Lab and its team of trained and certified professionals are always ready to help you understand BCA's requirements and implement them in a timely and proficient manner. Get a quote today or give us a call for more details.

 

 

 

 

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