Are Hearing Loops the Answer to Better Hearing in Public Venues?

Article submitted by Laura Hansen, owner of Assist 2 Hear, LLC. For more information, visit or or call for a free consultation at your venue at 720-210-9653.

Thanks to a recent front page article in the NY Times, hearing loops have received long awaited national press. The article profiles composer Richard Einhorn and his sudden hearing loss. He had given up hope of ever hearing music again. But a temporary loop installed at the Kennedy Center for a performance of Wicked during the HLAA convention in June of this year allowed him to clearly hear the performance, which brought tears to his eyes.

Dr. David Myers, the man behind the loop initiative in America, is also quoted in the article. Dr. Myers has worked tirelessly to educate and advocate for hearing loops after first experiencing them while traveling in the UK several years ago.

Hearing loops turn one’s own hearing aids in to “wireless speakers” to improve understanding and clarity of the spoken word and music. Loops installed in places of worship, auditoriums and theaters bring smiles to those with t-coil equipped hearing aids. Loops can help bring back worshipers and customers who have quit attending because they could not hear or understand in these venues.

A t-coil is an inexpensive copper coil that is already installed in many hearing aids, particularly behind the ear (BTE) and in the ear (ITE) aids. It is estimated that around 70% of hearing aids have t-coils and this number appears to be growing along with the popularity of hearing loops.

Induction hearing loops, or audio frequency induction loops (AFILS), are simply a wire configured in a room to create a magnetic field. The loop wire is connected to a loop driver which is connected to the sound system or TV in the room. A signal is sent directly to the hearing aid when set on the “T” or “MT” setting. The result is clear sound through the hearing aid which is already set for the user’s own hearing loss.

User reactions range from “incredible” to tears and smiles from ear to ear. Anyone seeing these positive reactions wonders why this technology is not required in public venues. New ADA standards effective March 15, 2012, include hearing loops as one of the three approved technologies for hearing access and the presence of a hearing loop reduces the number of required headsets for hearing assistance. Most venues have Infrared or FM systems with headsets. However, few, if any of the headsets get used because most people do not want to advertise their hearing loss and there are sanitation issues with headsets.

Installing hearing loops in public venues takes ADVOCACY on the part of the hard of hearing. We need to let venues know that we cannot hear in their venue. Suggesting hearing loops and offering to help raise the necessary funds will speed up the process.

Professional installations are important to make sure the loop experience is good in every venue. A poor installation does no one any good. Look for installers trained specifically in loop technology.

Assist 2 Hear , a Colorado business, is committed to professional hearing loop installations using quality equipment. Let us know if we can answer questions and help your venue to become hearing friendly!

About the Author and Assist 2 Hear, LLC

Assist 2 Hear, LLC was founded by Laura Hansen in 2010 to provide products for the hard of hearing (, along with education and advocacy for better hearing access. Professionally installing hearing loops has become the core of the business. Contact Laura or Daulton Smith at 720-210-9653 to find out more about assistive listening devices and hearing loops in public or private venues.© 2012, All Rights Reserved by Laura Hansen, Owner of Assist 2 Hear, LLC.

Posted April 2012 on