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The Telecoil to Hearing Aids

The Telecoil to Hearing Aids

A wonderful feature available on many hearing aids is called the "telecoil". It's also referred to as a "t-switch" or "t-coil". The image at the right shows a telecoil at several times actual size that might be installed in a typical telecoil-equipped hearing aid.

It's nothing more than a tiny coil of wire around a core that will induce an electric current in the coil when it's in the presence of a changing magnetic field.

A telecoil, can therefore, be an alternate or supplemental input device for a hearing aid.

Normally, a hearing aid "listens" with its microphone, then amplifies what it "hears". But with a telecoil used as the input source instead of (or in addition to) the microphone, the hearing aid can "hear" a magnetic signal which represents sound.

On telecoil-equipped hearing aids and CIs, the wearer must "turn on" or "switch to" telecoil mode by moving a small switch (on older models) to the "T" position, or by changing to a program mode (by pressing a button on the ear-level device or on a remote control) that is set up to use the telecoil as an input source instead of or in addition to the microphones. Some users prefer a mode that only uses the telecoil and not the microphones when they are in telecoil mode, and other users prefer a combination of telecoil and microphones. There is no right way for everyone but there may be a best way for each person.

Automatic telecoils have become available on some hearing aids and CIs recently. So far, only a few of these will work when using a neckloop or a room loop, and they may even be intermittent in their recognition of a compatible phone's magnetic signal. Be sure if you are purchasing a telecoil equipped hearing aid or CI that has an automatic option that you also have a way to force the telecoil program to be on and stay on while you want it.

Originally, the telecoil was meant to "hear" the magnetic signal naturally generated in an older telephone, whose speaker was driven by powerful magnets. This allowed someone with a hearing aid to hear the telephone better, if they just turned on (or switched to) their telecoil as an input source for their hearing aid.

Now there are many more magnetic sources that can be "heard" by a telecoil equipped hearing aid.

Even though newer phones are not natural sources of a magnetic signal, most phones contain extra electronics to generate a magnetic signal and are thus "Hearing Aid Compatible" (HAC). What that means is that a hearing aid with a telecoil can "hear" the magnetic signal they put out.

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