Dr. Tao Cui, Au.D., recently addressed a question on Audiology Online about the pros and cons of using induction loops versus digital wireless technology.
Telecoils have been used for a long time and are commonly used for telephones as well as in loop systems in large, public venues. The pros of this technology are:
- The ability to block environmental noise and improve signal to noise ratio.
- A reduced risk of acoustic feedback.
- Ease of use – no pairing required to tap into the broadcasted signal.
- Available at a relatively low cost.
- Not designed for music, so distortion can occur.
- Telecoil orientation is important to quality of signal and sound.
- Requires the installation of a fixed loop within the area.
- Other digital devices can interfere with the signal.
Digital wireless technology has come to the market in recent years and gained in popularity. The pros of this technology are:
- Increased options for phone use, including reduced hearing aid gain for the non-phone ear, which is found in the ReSound Comfort Phone.
- Hands free operation.
- Increased privacy due to precise pairing protocol.
- Excellent sound quality for both speech and music.
The cons of digital wireless hearing aids and accessories are:
- No common standard for transmission in large public venues.
- Accessories must be paired to the hearing aids.
- Relatively expensive versus telecoil.
Dr. Cui points out that “telecoil and digital wireless technology are not mutually exclusive.” This allows patients to incorporate both to enjoy improved signal to noise ratios in a variety of settings.