T-Coil Based Loop Systems
The first step in getting more loops in more homes is having a good demo situation set up in your office. We actually have 4 loops in our office, one in the reception area (with a direct audio connection so there is no acoustic signal) and one in each of our fitting rooms. As patients are waiting to be seen, they cant possibly miss the silent television with the sign next to it that reads to hear the TV put your hearing aid on the T position. If patients are wearing T-coil equipped hearing aids, they flip the switch (or press the button) and are amazed at how well they are able to hear. If they are not using hearing aids or dont have T-coil equipped hearing aids our front office personnel are well trained in explaining the technology. During a hearing aid fitting appointment, the loop demonstration is a regular part of the orientation. Since we have seen the difference they can make in hearing aid satisfaction, we have recently begun to include a home loop system with all new fittings. The demonstration takes only a few minutes since the hearing aids are ready (Tcoils) and the room is ready. Every day we have patients tell us that they havent heard television this well in years. We believe that having hearing aid compatible devices to augment the benefit gained from well fitted digital hearing aids is very important.
Installation may at first appear to be a barrier. However, loop systems are easy to install and require only a few tools and handyman skills. It has been an extra benefit to find installers who really enjoy the work. We actually started using our son, who at 17, showed some interest and aptitude. He is now off to college and installing loops for an practice near his university. Other practices have used family members and/or retired patients. It has turned out to be a nice side job for a young person who needs the employment or an older person who wants to stay active.
The loop system we use comes with an easy to read installation guide and in many cases, patients are able to handle the installation on their own.
You can probably tell that we are really excited about home looping and believe that it is good for the patient, good for our practice, good for our installers and ultimately good for the reputation of hearing instruments, in general.