A telecoil system can help in a number of listening situations, like a classroom, lecture hall, house of worship, or phone conversations. Telecoil systems collect sound waves using magnetic induction. The sound is delivered to your sound processor by a “loop” system (a physical cable or an array of cables that “loop” around a designated space) in a building, or even a personal loop that you wear around your neck.
Instead of having a telecoil built into your sound processor like some hearing aids and cochlear implants have, most Baha Sound Processors use a telecoil connector. The Baha Cordelle II is the only Baha Sound Processor with a built in telecoil. The picture shows what the accessory looks like.
For best results, you will need to use an Audio Input-only program, which can be included in your set of programs. In my experience, if you plug in the telecoil and your Baha Sound Processor is receiving sound, it will make a ferocious buzzing sound (not feedback) and you won’t get any signal.
Connecting the telecoil is very simple, just line up the Euro Pin connection on the telecoil with the three holes on the bottom of your sound processor, push it in and voila!
Using your Telecoil in School
Universal design is becoming a huge part of building planning. So public and private spaces are being designed so that they are accessible to everyone, with or without a disability. As a result, more and more building are being designed with telecoil looped rooms. Many of the big lecture halls at my university are telecoil looped, so if I plug my telecoil into my processor, it sounds as if the teacher is talking straight into my head.
Personally, this effect helps me concentrate – having a “voice” in my head makes it feel as if the teacher is talking directly to me, which makes me perk up and pay more attention. It also reduces difficulty hearing the professor’s voice. Unavoidably, there is still the instructor who mumbles, talks really fast or has a thick accent, but the telecoil helps to at least remove some of the barriers.
Using your Telecoil on the Phone
I usually just talk on my phone with my good ear, but someday my processor will hear better than my good ear, so I try to practice linking the telecoil to my phone and talking on it now, in preparation. Also, if I talk on the phone for a long time, my ear gets sore and it is nice to be able to switch to the other side.
The telecoil is designed to help you hear the conversation better when using the phone. Most landline phones and cell phones are compatible with telecoil. Look for phones that present telecoil ratings of T3 or T4 – meeting or surpassing the compatibility standard. Phonescoop’s website is a great resource for determining the telecoil compatibility of phones.
Using your Telecoil Out on the Town
Many churches, theaters, auditoriums and other public buildings have rooms that are telecoil looped. When you go out, be sure to ask if any accommodations of this variety are available.
In fact, HearingLoop.org has started an initiative to have hearing loops installed all over the world. They’re in the process of completely looping a community. Check out their looping initiative at their website!
Other Cool Uses for Telecoil
If you’re unilateral, I was able to find great headphones that have a telecoil hook on one ear and an earbud on the other. To find some that work for you, search online for “silhouette ear hook and earbud” and peruse away!
If you’re bilateral, there are also headphones that have two earhooks! To find some that may work for you, search online for “bilateral silhouette ear hook”.
To use these awesome headphones, plug in your telecoil(s) and tuck the earhook around your ear so that the lower part of the hook is as close to your telecoil post as possible. Take your time experimenting with different orientations to find what works best for you. Say hello to listening bilaterally!
Share your experience with or tips for using a telecoil with your Baha System at firstname.lastname@example.org.