Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine 2015

Page 22


Hearing Loop? What’s That?

Imagine if sound could be broadcast directly into hearing aids without background noise or echo. It can be! By Tosha R. Hodgson, BA, MClSc, Registered Audiologist and David Moore, induction loop consultant


eople with hearing loss miss out, and it happens every day. Even with highly sophisticated hearing aids, people with hearing loss struggle to hear concerts, performing arts, seminars, religious services, public address announcements, even television. People with hearing loss need more volume, and their brains need more time, to process sound correctly. Hearing aids help but they cannot fix a damaged auditory system. Distance, noise, and echo reduce sound strength and clarity, which can pummel hearing aid wearers into an abyss of confusion, frustration, and isolation.

Imagine not hearing the vows at your loved one’s wedding or the eulogy at your best friend’s funeral. Imagine purchasing season tickets for a theatre only to find out by the second show that you cannot hear the stage actors so you give your tickets away. Imagine not hearing at religious services so you stop attending. Now, imagine if sound could be broadcast directly into hearing aids without background noise or echo. It can be! Induction loop systems can do just that: broadcast sound directly into hearing aids. Also called hearing loops, these systems consist of a

Have You Heard? First-Ever Canadian Hearing Loss Statistics Just Released! By Tosha R. Hodgson, BA, MClSc, Registered Audiologist


n the past, estimates of hearing loss in Canada have been based on self-reported data, suggesting 4 percent to 5 percent of Canadians have some degree of hearing difficulty. This self-reported data has long been suspected of underestimating the true prevalence of hearing loss in Canada. New evidence reveals that suspicion was warranted. In July 2015, Statistics Canada released their first population-based study of measured hearing threshold data outlining the prevalence of hearing loss. The study tested 2,972 Canadian adults aged 20 to 79 for hearing loss and found: • Over 19 percent of tested adults had measured hearing loss affecting speech understanding.

• Only 3.7 percent self-reported difficulty hearing. • Over 35 percent had highfrequency hearing loss (known to affect perceived clarity of speech). • Only 12 percent of hearing-impaired adults used hearing aids. Overall, the study estimates over 4.6 million adults (one in five) have some degree of measurable hearing loss, and highlights a marked disparity between self-reported and actual hearing loss. They also suggest that a significant number of adults who could benefit from using amplification are not using hearing aids. No one chooses to have hearing loss. Hearing loss does not age discriminate. Overcome it. Talk to your audiologist today. n

Locations with the hearing loop will display this sign

wire that is looped around a room. The ends of the wire are attached to a special audio amplifier which can be connected to a microphone, TV, tablet, music player, computer, stereo, public address system—just about any sound source. The looped area can be as small as a teller window at a bank or as large as a stadium and can be installed inside or outdoors. Hearing devices—hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids—must be equipped with a telecoil to work with a hearing loop system. A telecoil is a tiny spindle of wire that picks up sound electromagnetically. Telecoils work with landline telephones, some cell phones, and hearing loop systems. Many hearing aids, and some hearing aid remote controls, come preequipped with telecoils, but not all. Many hearing aids have automatic telecoils to work with telephones but the automatic version does not work with hearing loop systems. Telecoils must be programmed so they can be activated manually by the hearing device wearer, usually by simply pressing a button on their hearing device or remote control. Audiologists and hearing instrument practitioners can do this programming. Why are hearing loop systems so hard to find in Canada? It’s a good question, and one without a very good answer. Hearing loops are routinely found in Europe and Australasia. Recent changes to the disabilities act in the US have prompted more installations. Despite hearing loop technology being successfully used since the early 1970s [1], Canada has been slow to adopt the systems. The good news is that the situation

22 Seniors ‘15 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


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