Hearing Loop F.A.Q.

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The Fox Cities P.A.C. has gone out of their way to make the facility accessible to ALL people with disabilities. I am nost appreciatve of the provision of 'communication access.' Thank you F.C.P.A.C.!
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Julie Olson
The Hearing Loss Association of America


1) What is a hearing loop?

A hearing loop is like a wireless network for hearing aids. An inductive wire loop transmits sound signals from a microphone, speaker or public address system directly to telecoil-equipped hearing aids or cochlear implants. The telecoil, or T-coil, functions as an antenna, relaying sounds directly into the ear without background noise. 

The technology behind hearing loops is relatively simple. Electromagnetic waves produced by an electronic sound source such as a microphone induces an analogous current in the cop¬per loop. The copper telecoil wire in hearing aids and cochlear implants picks up the signal via induction and transmits it for amplification and transmission out of the hearing device.

2) Where are hearing loops used?

Hearing loops are commonplace in Europe. The U.S. has been slower to embrace hearing loops because, until recently, many hearing aids were not equipped with telecoils. According to the American Academy of Audiology, today almost 70% of all hearing aids dispensed in the U.S. have telecoils. As a result, there is increasing interest in hearing loops.

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is the first Broadway presenting theater in Wisconsin with T-coil compatible hearing loop technology. Hearing loops are increasingly being embraced as a way to help people with hearing loss enjoy clear sound in: 
  • Theaters and performing arts centers
  • Places of worship
  • High school and college auditoriums
  • Court rooms and government chambers
  • Board rooms and large meeting rooms
  • Banquet and sports facilities
  • Ticket counters and information booths
  • Doctors’ offices and pharmacy counters
  • Drive thru and pick up windows
  • Elevators, trains and buses
  • Museum exhibits

3) What are advantages of a hearing loop system? 

Other assistive listening technologies, such as infrared and FM systems, require portable receiving units. In addition, FM systems operate on different frequencies, so different receivers are needed for each venue. T-coil hearing loops: Deliver sound directly to the hearing aid in a pure, undistorted form. Since hearing aids are customized for an individual’s specific hearing loss, the individual ends up receiving sound that is tailored to his or her specific hearing needs.

Hearing loops offer a discrete way for individuals to take advantage of assistive hearing systems. The user does not need to pick up or return equipment or publicly acknowledge his or her hearing impairment by wearing an obvious headset.

Hearing loops use base band audio to transmit sound, avoiding the problems associated with operating on multiple frequencies as with FM hearing enhancement systems. The audio signal is not affected by the distance the listener is from the sound source, nor by any interfering background noises.

Hearing loops offer a simple-to-use solution for hearing-impaired guests to enjoy public presentations. All users need to do is touch a button to switch their hearing aids to the “T” setting to activate the telecoil.

Hearing loops accommodate a variety of signals as input, including microphones, audio systems, TVs and mixing consoles.

Hearling loops can be configured in phased array and low-spillover designs so sound is confined to particular areas and is not shared room-to-room.

4)What is the biggest challenge to hearing loop effectiveness? 

User education is actually the biggest challenge. Many people have no idea that their hearing aid or cochlear implant has a T-coil. Even if an organization posts the universal hear¬ing loop symbol, people may not fully understand that they can easily take advantage of the technology using their existing assistive hearing device. It helps to provide some information about T-coils on signs, in programs and in public presentations. 

5) Can hearing loops serve those without telecoil-equipped hearing aids or without hearing aids entirely?

Yes, hearing loops typically come with portable receivers and headsets to serve people who do not use hearing aids or have hearing aids without a telecoil. 

6) Why are hearing loops needed? Don’t hearing aids enable hearing?

Today’s digital hearing aids enhance hearing in person-to-person conversational settings. Yet for many people with hearing loss the sound becomes unclear when auditorium or TV loudspeakers are at a distance, when the context is noisy, or when room acoustics reverberate sound. A hearing loop magnetically transfers the microphone or TV sound signal to hearing aids and cochlear implants that have a tiny, inexpensive “telecoil” receiver. This transfers the sounds into in-the-ear loudspeakers that deliver sound customized for one’s own hearing loss.

Learn more about hearing loops

American Academy of Audiology’s site is operated by the world’s largest professional organization of, by, and for audiologists.

Hearingloop.org is a nonprofit informational website created and maintained by Hope College psychology professor David G. Myers, a hearing loop advocate.

Hearingloss.org is the site for the Hearing Loss Association of America, the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss.


If you have any questions, would like further information or need assistance, please contact the director of event management and access services at (920) 730-3782 or info@foxcitiespac.com.
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November 27

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