A telecoil is the bridge between your hearing aid and a public assistive listening system (ALS). If you want to hear better in public places, yes, you do want a telecoil in your hearing aid.
A telecoil is the small copper coil in most hearing aids and all cochlear implants. The t-coil serves as a wireless receiver. It’s the universal platform that connects you to all assistive listening systems (loops, FM, and infrared.)
A telecoil picks up the electromagnetic signal from a sound source such as a microphone or a PA system. The signal is processed by the hearing aid or cochlear implant, then passed on to the auditory nerve as sound. The sound is customized for each listener’s hearing loss, providing exceptionally clear understanding.
Many people with hearing aids don’t know if their hearing aid has a telecoil or how to use it. Ask your audiologist if your hearing aid has a telecoil, and make sure it’s activated. If you’re considering buying hearing aids soon, make sure you consider telecoils before you buy. Some manufacturers use a “T” in the name to let you know the hearing aid has a telecoil. The Opn miniRITE T is an example.
The telecoil can connect you to assistive listening systems in theatres, airports, houses of worship, and thousands of other public spaces. Better still, a telecoil connects you to a hearing loop without the need for additional Assistive Listening Device (ALD) equipment–you simply switch your aid or CI to telecoil mode (or T mode). Telecoils can also connect you to your home loop or TV loop.
Essentially, a telecoil doubles the effectiveness of your hearing aid.
What about Bluetooth? Isn’t that enough?
Bluetooth and telecoils are different technologies and are designed for different situations. Bluetooth helps you connect to devices such as your cellular phone or tablet, but it has a limited range, and the technology is often proprietary, not universal. The telecoil is universal and will help you hear better in large public places.
One disadvantage to the telecoil is that it will pick up any 60-HZ current that generates magnnetic fields. Where I was working, I coulldn’t use it at all. There were 60-HZ and 400-HZ currents which generated strong magnetic fields that rendered my telecoils useless. I couldn’t even hear the sound of a person’s voice on the telephone AT ALL. And I am not a fan of “automatic” T-coil. I find them very unreliable and prone to quick disconnects. I made sure the last time I purchased hearing aids that I can manually force the T-coil to come on and stay on.
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I have worn hearing aids for 15 years or more and when I go to church they have a t lopp. When I switch my hearing aid to T loop then I get brilliant sound. Whilst I can see in your case you are in an unfortunate place which affects it. Most places that supply t loop supply are perfectly ok. I recommend it. BTW A few years ago we were in Our Lady of the lake church for a service. They did not have t loop so it was impossible for me to hear the service. They handed out headphones but they were suitable for me. I hope they have done so now
Feb. 18 2015 I recieved massive head trauma. It broke my 3 ear bones apart, ending all my hearing from my left ear. A few months after learning to live with the massive hearing loss and the new sound of even my own voice had changed. No implant, no hearing device is used BY ME EVER! Yet my hearing is somehow fixed/altered by something, somehow! People around me notice my hearing differ. They don’t really think twice about it. My hearing levels change, from hearing perfect (down to a very soft whisper) to my voice getting louder due to the fact I’m un-aware of when my hearing starts to lower in capability. Everyone knows that my hearing levels change from good to bad on its own! I can’t get anyone to help me search for the cause of interference with my hearing levels. I have a select few guesses. No one listens though, not even ANY of my doctors through out the 6ish years its been changing my hearing on its own. WHAT IT IS I DON;’T KNOW
I recommend that you go to a medical facility that specializes in hearing, such as the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. This facility is world-renowned and is a long time pioneer in ear surgery. But if you do get a hearing aid(s), start using them for maybe three hours a day and then gradually increase your usage. That’s what I did when I was seven.
I’m told if you want rechargeable hearing aids, you cannot have the T-coil. Is that true?
Hi Geraldine! Thank you so much for the question–it’s a good one.
Yes, there are a few that exist–it depends on the make and model of the hearing aid.
Juliette Sterkens has a good explanation of what she calls the “Superfecta” hearing aids–the hearing aids that are rechargeable, cosmetically appealing, come with built-in Bluetooth, and have the ability to enable telecoils. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/53261-Superfecta-hearing-aids-key-features-bluetooth-telecoil-small-rechargeable
Hearing Tracker has a comparison here: https://www.hearingtracker.com/hearing-aids/compare/oticon-more-1-minirite-r-vs-phonak-audeo-marvel-rt-m90
The Phonak’s Audéo P-RTs are rechargeable and do have a telecoil, for example. https://www.phonak.com/us/en/hearing-aids/phonak-audeo-paradise.html
Starkey’s New Muse™ iQ Rechargeable appears to have both options. https://www.starkey.com/press/press-releases/2018/02/starkey-introduces-smartest-smallest-rechargeable-hearing-device
The Oticon Opn-s miniRITE T appears to be rechargeable and telecoil-enabled as well. https://www.oticon.com/solutions/opn-s-hearing-aids
Be sure to check with your dispenser or audiologist before you buy, and remember that in Washington State, you have a 30-day return window by law if the hearing aid isn’t the right one for you.
Thank you for this information. Can I impose again?
A question for you; perhaps if you could point me in the right direction for this, I’d appreciate it.
Our church was planning a new sound system. My husband and I went to them and told them about the T-coil, etc. Told them where they could go to check it out (another church nearby). But of course they didn’t do that and they upgraded with a wifi system whereby download an app and then Bluetooth to your hearing aids. We haven’t tried that out yet.
What I read somewhere is that the loop could be installed in a small section of a room rather than the entire place. Would it be possible to install the loop around a small section of pews in the church and those with t-coil could sit there and hear! It said the “wire” could be run alongside the carpeting so that there’s no major renovation. Do you know who could do such a thing? If it can be done and if the cost is not outlandish, we’re wondering if it’s something my husband and I could provide at the church. Can you point to someone who does this or give me any other info.
Since I left my question, I did find some rechargeables which do accommodate the coil. I have since purchased Phonak w/both telecoil & bluetooth. (Just picked them up two days ago.) I also just purchased Panasonic landline phone with both in it also. Hearing aids & phone are 100% great. I can hear great w/new aids at home. Just tested at a restaurant yesterday with 2 friends of ours. They were about 99% perfect. Next test will be in a week or so with a group of 14 at a restaurant dinner & then dessert at one’s home! I have my fingers crossed. Been wearing HA for many years and this is the first time on the phone w/o an issue and first time in a restaurant w/friends again w/o much of an issue. Phone is perfect; restaurant is about 99% perfect. At least I could join in on the conversation & understand all being said. Re talking to dispenser/audiologist – I got nowhere w/either of them. I learned all on my own; in fact had to tell them about the coil because they “had heard about it!” Re 30-day return policy in Washington State, here in IL it differs w/provider. I got mine at Costco and went there only because they offer about a 6-month full retund. Bought a diff brand first; had to return those & then these Phonaks. The hearing test I received there (free) was the most indepth hearing test I’d ever had!