Hearing Loop use growing in popularity

By Michelle Costanza

June 13, 2014 Updated Jun 13, 2014 at 12:02 AM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New technology is enabling hearing aids to deliver crisper sound, and the campaign is taking off across the country.

It's called a hearing loop. The development acts almost like a personal audio system for people with hearing aids, and all it takes is the push of a button.

"It makes the hearing aid doubly useful, it allows people to hear in public places that they previously couldn't hear," said Juliette Sterkens, Doctor of Audiology and National Hearing Loop Advocate for the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Loops directly and wirelessly broadcasts sound from a microphone into a hearing aid without any background noise. Sterkens said nearly 69 percent of hearing aids in the United States are already equipped with the small copper telecoil which makes the process possible. In many cases, an audiologist just needs to flip it on.

However, the amplified audio effect will only work when within a loop-enabled building or location.

"It needs a PA system or microphone to work because the system sends a current through the wire, which is placed or installed around a seated area," explained Sterkens.

Places such as churches, stadiums and public transportation are starting to be equipped with loops. Locations that are enabled typically display signage to let those who want to "get in the loop," know.

Sterkens said that spreading awareness of hearing loops will give those that are hearing impaired the opportunity to enjoy events to their fullest.

For more information, go to www.hearingloss.org.