Why are loop systems the preferred assistive listening system?


Unlike alternative (FM or infrared) assistive listening systems which usually sit unused, 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, which are needed only for those without T-coils.
• Operate on a universal frequency. (FM systems operate on differing frequencies, requiring receivers for each venue.)
• Are inconspicuous: 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 remove hearing aids in order to use a headset.
• Preclude bothering others nearby with sounds leaking from headset. The sound from a loop is contained within one’s ear.
• Afford flexible use: Can be set to hear only the speaker at the mic or both the speaker and a person nearby.
• Deliver personalized in-the-ear sound . . . customized by one’s own hearing aids to address one’s own hearing loss.
• Require only a one-time cost. Loops can cost anywhere from a simple home unit for several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for a professional installation in an auditorium. Once installed there are no costs of maintenance such as batteries and cleaning.
Loops 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). Loop systems can, thanks to portable receivers, serve everyone including all who are served by existing systems. But with T-coils, 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 T-coils.

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