“Over 5% of the world’s population – approximately 432 million adults and 34 million children – require rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss.” – World Health Organization, (1 Apr 2021).1
For those with hearing loss, sound amplification is not enough.
That’s where assistive listening systems come into play. They help improve speech intelligibility and allow those with hearing loss to participate in their community. Many governments require assistive listening (also referred to as assistive hearing systems and devices) to provide equal access to amplified sound in government and public spaces.
These regulations often mention neck loops as a requirement to adequately provide accommodations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically requires a certain number of neck loops be provided depending on the capacity of the space. The ADA requires two neck loops be provided for any area with seating for up to 50 people. In spaces with seating for 50 or more people, the ADA requires venues to have 25% of the number of assistive listening devices in neck loops.
Let’s Start with Telecoils
A telecoil is a small copper wire neatly coiled inside some hearing aids and cochlear implants. Often referred to as a t-coil, the t-coil receives electromagnetic audio signals when switched on and helps those with hearing loss hear the audio being amplified more clearly for better speech intelligibility.2 Not all hearing aids have t-coils, but most cochlear implants do.
What are Neck Loops?
Neck loops are a personal induction loop system and can help those with hearing loss, and telecoil-enabled hearing aids or cochlear implants improve their ability to hear and understand speech and music.
A neck loop functions like a headset for people who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. Like a headset, neck loops can be plugged into any sound source compatible with a headset (e.g., a cell phone, tablet, TV, etc.). The neck loop relays sound from the device to the user’s t-coil. 2
How do Neck Loops work?
A neck loop is a small induction loop of copper wire worn around the neck that transmits a magnetic field from the audio signal passing through the copper wire. The magnetic field transmits the sound from an assistive listening device to the listener’s telecoil-enabled hearing aids or cochlear implants.
The neck loop is connected to an assistive listening device (a receiver), and the device is connected to the assistive listening system. The assistive listening system transmits audio to the receiver from an audio source – live or recorded (from a microphone, TV, or other venue audio source).
Why are Neck Loops Important
Neck loops are important to provide with an assistive listening system to make the audio more accessible to those using t-coil enabled hearing aids and cochlear implants. Without neck loops, a hard-of-hearing individual has to use other headsets or headphones to access the audio, and that can be burdensome for those already using aids or implants in the same area. Imagine wearing earbuds and a headset for sound. It’s more than just uncomfortable too. “Neck loops plug into any audio jack, the same as headphones. Headphones can make hearing aids squeal, that noise that makes people cringe and ask, ‘What is that?'” 3
New Listen Technologies Neck Loops Now Available
As part of our commitment to providing exceptional listening experiences, Listen Technologies is excited to announce new advanced neck loops for use with Listen EVERYWHERE and our ListenTALK transceivers and receivers. Additionally, the new neck loop is available in two sizes, the LA-438 for adults and the LA-439 for children. That’s right, we’ve made a neck loop specifically sized for children. The idea came from a Listen Technologies partner in Europe. They used ListenTALK to create a solution for a school with hard-of-hearing children, and the adult-sized neck loops did not fit the kids. Child-sized neck loops offer a better experience for smaller users.
The new neck loops will replace the LA-166 and offer enhanced field strength performance resulting in a superior audio signal. Both neck loops also include a breakaway connection, a safety feature. The LA-438 and LA-439 neck loops work with various products, including competitive ones.
Chelle Wyatt, a hearing loss advocate and co-founder of Hearing Loss LIVE!, (pictured wearing the new LA-438 Listen Technologies neck loop) said, “I like this [new Listen Technologies] neck loop for the firmness. It’s easy to put on and take off, especially with the breakaway connection. Testing between the new neck loop and another brand I have, I get more ‘sh-sh-sh’ sound with speech with the other brand. I don’t know how else to explain it. Speech is clearer through the neck loop from Listen Technologies.”
To learn more about neck loop technology, ADA requirements, and how to ensure all guests have exceptional listening experiences, register to attend a Listen Technologies Assistive Listening and ADA Compliance webinar.
- World Health Organization. (2021, April 1). Deafness and hearing loss. Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss
- Benefits of using a neck loop. Midwest ENT. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://entmidwest.com/benefits-of-using-a-neck-loop/
- Wyatt, C. (2022, May 5). Connecting with hearing aids & cochlear implants. Hearing Loss LIVE! Retrieved May 5, 2022, from https://hearinglosslive.com/connecting-with-hearing-aids-cochlear-implants/