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.