At this time no universal wireless digital technology exists (or is in the near future) that will help the millions of hearing aid users in this country and around the world hear well in public places. The only universal technology available is telecoils and induction hearing loops.
I believe that telecoils has the potential to excite all those involved with hearing care: the providers, the users and the manufacturers. We all know the truth: hearing aids and Cochlear Implants have their limitations due to the degree and type of hearing loss and the fact that users go through life hearing the world through microphones. And microphones have limitations too – they pick up what is closest and pick up what is loudest and cannot distinguish between the two and this problem is aggravated in places where there is background noise and reverberation.
Audiologists and hearing care providers need to incorporate hearing loops because loops offer their clients solutions in locations where hearing aids will not work well – no matter the level of technology in the instrument. The MFRs know it; the providers know it; and the hearing aid users find out as soon as they start using the instruments that hearing aids don’t offer good hearing beyond 6-8 feet. Read the comments from hearing aid and CI user Katherine Bouton It is not anybody’s fault – it is just the way it is. What is needed are hearing loop installations and telecoil equipped hearing aids as they allow the user to hear much, much, (did I say MUCH?) better.
Once we get that message out and providers and consumers start demanding that hearing access be done with hearing aid compatible systems (i.e. hearing loops) and loops become ubiquitous in places where assistive listening is needed (houses of worship, lecture halls, board rooms, airport gates, theaters and pharmacy ticket counters to name a few) consumer satisfaction with hearing devices will increase, and I even dare say, dramatically.
Looping a community can be done but takes some tenacity. I speak from experience but the change is worthwhile. Read my previous blog: https://loopwisconsin.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/improving-hearing-access-with-hearing-loops/