According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 5 percent of the world’s population has a disabling hearing loss. As a result, a significant portion of these people use a hearing aid — a small electronic device worn in or behind the ear that amplifies certain sounds. According to the National Institude on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, hearing aids;
“make some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities.”
In many places around the world, an assisted listening technology device called an “Induction Hearing Loop System” are installed to further help the hearing impaired population hear more clearly, participate in general conversation, and engage in everyday activities.
What is an induction hearing loop system?
Induction hearing loop systems – also known as hearing loop systems, T-loop systems, and audio loop systems – is a type of sound system that seek to benefit hearing aid users by picking up audio more clearly, regardless of background noise or the distance from a user to a sound.
Whether it’s listening to conversations with others or watching a performance at a theatre, an induction loop system helps to amplify the audio without the excessive background noise that can often be produced from the hearing aid’s microphone when turned up.
How does an induction hearing loop system work?
If you’re wondering how an induction hearing loop system actually works, then let us explain. It’s important to note that there are several ways that induction loops can be installed depending on the setting.
Using a meeting or conference room as an example location, the signal from an audio source, such as a speaker addressing the audience using a microphone, is fed into a hearing loop amplifier, which in turn, transmits the signal into a loop of cable. This cable is normally placed around the perimeter of a room, either around the ceiling or flooring. This type of installation is known as a perimeter loop.
The current flowing through the loop generates a magnetic field that radiates around the loop cable and transmits an audio frequency. The magnetic field induces a current in the T-coil (short for Telecoil, a small wireless receiver found in hearing aids) which is translated into audio by the hearing aid device. This audio is then transferred directly to the ear canal using the hearing aid’s own speaker.
In order to tune into the induction hearing loop system, cochlear implant users and hearing aid users must be within the covered area and have programmed their devices to the correct ‘T’ setting.
It’s important to note that perimeter loops aren’t always the best installation option, as many of today’s modern buildings contain metal that can actually absorb the hearing loop’s magnetic field. The good news is that these issues can be easily addressed using modern design tools and alternative loop layouts
For example, smaller counter-loop systems are available for locations such as shops, reception desks, and other areas where one-to-one communication is required.
Does my businesses need an induction loop system?
There are various legal and ‘best practice’ criteria to take into account when deciding whether your organisation should have an induction loop installed. To help you understand what is expected of your business, we have outlined some of the most significant below:
The Equality Act 2010: This combines a number of previous laws to ensure businesses do not discriminate against disability, gender, age, race, religion or sexual orientation. The act outlines the following:
“Service providers are required to make changes, where needed, to improve service for disabled customers or potential customers. There is a legal requirement to make reasonable changes to the way things are done (such as changing a policy), to the built environment (such as making changes to the structure to improve access) and to provide auxiliary aids and services (such as providing information in an accessible format, an induction loop for customers with hearing aids, special computer software or additional staff support when using a service).”
The BS 8300 Building Code of Practice 2018: Brought forward by the British Standards Institution, this requires the design of buildings that meet the needs of disabled people. The code of practice includes details surrounding the installation requirements of hearing loops, and also the requirement of hearing loop system maintenance from a provider with specialist knowledge.
“Ticket sales and information points that are located in noisy environments or that have security screens should have at least one position fitted with a hearing enhancement (induction loop).”
“A hearing enhancement system, using induction loop, infrared or radio transmission, should be installed in rooms and spaces used for meetings, lectures, classes, performances, spectator sport or films, and at service or reception counters where the background noise level is high or where glazed screens are used.”
Building Regulations, Part M: These regulations provide specific guidance for the installation of induction loop systems for various businesses — with a specific reference to entertainment and social venues, reception desks and service counters.
“In order to obtain the full benefit of attending public performances or taking part in discussions, a person with impaired hearing needs to receive a signal that is amplified in both volume and signal-to-noise ratio. The three systems commonly used to provide this enhanced level of sound are induction loops, infrared and radio.”
As outlined by the above regulations, the installation of induction loop systems is a legal requirement for many businesses in the UK. But aside from it being a legal obligation, hearing enhancement technology is a vital investment for businesses that want to create an inclusive and welcoming space that is accessible for everyone. And who doesn’t want that?
Professional Induction Hearing Loop System Installation Services
The Sovereign Fire & Security team has years of experience creating bespoke audio solutions for a variety of venues. Top quality hearing induction loop system installation is our priority, helping businesses and venues create a fully-inclusive environment for their employees and customers. We are true experts in our field, and as a result, have gained prestigious contracts with blue chip companies around the UK.
If you need a hearing induction system installed or require maintenance services, please get in touch with our friendly team today.