Movie Night? How the Hearing Loop Can Help

Tis the season when the weather outside is oh so frightful. But what to do when you start going a little stir crazy from being inside all day? Go to the movies! The cinema has everything those in Provo and Lehi want: entertainment, warmth, popcorn and candy.

For most this sounds like an easy weekend activity, but for those who rely on hearing aids it may be daunting. The surround sound, noisy patrons and background noise all mix together to form a seemingly impossible task – to enjoy the movie.

Fortunately, almost all modern day hearing devices come telecoil enabled. A telecoil (more commonly referred to as a t-coil) is just what it sounds like: a coil of wire that works as a miniature wireless receiver. The t-coil is able to pick up electromagnetic signals from various assistive listening systems and turn those signals back into sound within your hearing aid.

A hearing loop is needed to transmit the electromagnetic energy to the t-coil. The hearing loop is made up of three parts: a sound source, an amplifier and a thin loop of wire that surrounds the room. As long as you are within the wire loop, the sound picked up by the amplifier is passed directly into your hearing aid, eliminating any distracting background noise. Hearing loops can be found in churches, conference centers and, you guessed it, movie theaters.

While this sounds like a solution, many eternal pessimists may brush off this fancy system, assuming their local theater does not have such a system in place. Rest assured, in 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act required that all places of public accommodation with fixed seating that either accommodates at least 50 people or has an audio amplification system (or both) must provide an assistive listening system.

In order to find out which type of system your movie theater has, simply look at their website.

This symbol means there is an assistive listening device at the theater.

This symbol: indicates that a t-coil hearing loop is available.

Other assistive listening devices such as FM and infrared systems can be used with your t-coil-enabled hearing aids through the use of additional equipment. Many movie theaters have the required equipment on-site; we recommend contacting them beforehand just to make sure.

Don’t let your hearing impairment get in the way of a good time. If you have any questions about how to get the most from your hearing aid, contact your Provo audiologist.

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