Hearing Loops-FAQ

Please also see FAQ for all Assistive Listening Systems (FM, IR, hearing loops)

Users

Unlike alternative (FM or infrared) assistive listening systems which usually sit unused, hearing loop systems:

  • Require (for those with T-coils) no pick up and remembering to return portable receiving units and headsets.

  • Require purchasing/​maintaining/​replacing fewer portable receiving units (for those without T-coils).

  • Use a universal magnetic signal, which works no matter the location or hearing instrument brand (FM systems operate on differing frequencies, requiring receivers for each venue).

  • Are inconspicuous: No need to display “I am hard of hearing!” Hearing loop systems offer an easy and invisible solution to an invisible problem, thus are much more likely to be used.

  • Work in transient situations: They can serve the hard of hearing at ticket counters, teller windows, drive-through stations, airport gate areas, and train and subway stations–venues where other assistive listening systems are impractical.

  • Are hearing-aid compatible. There’s no need to juggle between hearing aids and headsets (for example, when shifting from sermon to singing during worship).

  • Preclude bothering others nearby with sounds leaking from headset. Sound broadcast through hearing aids is contained within one’s ear.

  • Afford flexible use: Can allow either direct listening or hearing loop broadcast modes, or both.

  • Deliver personalized in-the-ear sound … customized by one’s own hearing aids to address one’s own hearing loss.

  • Are, for all these reasons, more likely to be used— and to be increasingly used, once installed (as people purchase future aids with T-coils). Hearing loop systems can, thanks to portable receivers, serve everyone including all who are served by existing systems. But, given telecoils, they are much more likely to be used—and therefore to cost less, per user. Moreover, it is those who most need hearing assistance who are most likely to have telecoils.

Site Managers and Business Owners

The primary factors affecting costs are the size of the room, the hearing loop design required for an even magnetic signal (perimeter or phased array loop), the effort required to hide the wire (for example, the flooring is carpet tile vs. hardwood flooring), and EMI. Larger facilities with embedded metal will typically cost more than a building made mostly of wood and/or concrete. If bids are not in these ranges, consider obtaining a second bid.

  • $150 -$250 (if you do your own installation) to $300-$500 (installed by an installer) for a home TV room hearing loop.
    (Note: installers can also help with the installation of a Bluetooth Hearing aid TV transmitter with your home TV).
  • Ticket windows, pharmacy counters, and information desks can cost $500 to $1,500.
  • Conference rooms or small places of worship may cost between $2,500 and $4,500.
  • A larger venue, such as a senior center, large place of worship, or school auditorium, can range from $7,500 to $45,000 (and up, in unusual and involved installations).
  • The largest venues, such as performing arts centers or stadiums, may cost $75,000 and up.

The cost of installing a hearing loop system is somewhat higher than the initial investment in other types of assistive listening systems but over the course of a few years, the loop system costs less expensive because there are virtually no maintenance costs. In comparison, an FM or IR solution requires loaner gear (receivers and headsets) for users and that means staff time and attention to maintain the gear, stock batteries and employ a system for loaning and retrieving equipment. 

Overall, the cost per user is typically less because many more people will use hearing loops vs FM or IR systems.

You can save money if you install a hearing loop during a remodel, new build, or when replacing tile, carpet, or other flooring.

For the user, a telecoil is very inexpensive and thus does not inflate the cost of hearing aids. 

Using a professional hearing loop installer, hearing loop systems can be configured to control spillover into surrounding areas outside of the looped area. Confidentiality is not an issue if the hearing loop system is properly designed and installed.

Generally, not. Old computer monitors, old fluorescent lighting, and some old dimmer switches may generate interference, as do some cars and all airplanes. But the experience in thousands of locations and those in Scandinavia, the UK, and other countries is that interference-free installation is nearly always possible.

Yes. Preserving the character and distinctive architectural styling of older buildings is a fairly common goal. Rest assured that the installation of a hearing loop system is rarely, if ever, a conflict to those design goals. The hearing loop wire is hidden below a floor covering — wood, tile, marble, carpet, vinyl — and the loop driver is installed in an audio cabinet or on an audio rack in a closet where the PA system is installed.  

Indeed, which is why New York City Transit Authority has installed hearing loops at 488 subway information booths. In such venues, where checkout equipment is not realistic, the only possible assistive listening device is one’s own hearing aid or cochlear implant.

See our webpage Transient Venues for more information