The hearing loop is an assistive technology for the hard of hearing that's popular in Europe, but less widespread in the US. Think of it like wireless networking for hearing aids. The technology uses an inductive loop to transmit sound signals directly into an in-ear hearing aid or cochlear implant, where it is received by an inductive device called a telecoil. Proponents of the system say it works especially well in public places with background noise, such as train stations or places of worship, as announcements can be transmitted directly to the ear rather than being picked up by an external microphone. The approach also does not require the use of bulky receivers or headsets, as many assistive hearing devices commonly used in the US do. It does, however, require that the listener have a hearing aid equipped with a telecoil for reception. We'll talk about the technology, and why it hasn't been embraced in this country.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer