In a world filled with new technology, hearing loops bring old technology back to life. The Washington Post reported that this “old technology could have the most profound impact in the decade to come on millions of people with hearing loss.” (The Washington Post) Telecoils were first put in hearing aids in the 1940s, and hearing loops were used in the 1960s and 1970s.
However, two challenges arise from the returning use of this old technology. First, a user’s hearing device must be equipped with a telecoil in order for the person to benefit from the hearing loop. Telecoils are common but not universal. Second, public areas have to be “looped,” but in the United States, very few are.
In Jacksonville, Fla., the only places currently looped (of which we are aware) are our waiting rooms at Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute and one check-out lane at Whole Foods Market in Mandarin.
The Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging performance venues to install temporary loop systems to let people try them out.