Hearing Loops: Are They Better than Infrared or FM?

Audio Video Room

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.




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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