Delight your hearing aid patients: Get them in the loop! – guest post by Juliëtte Sterkens, AuD

imageHearing loops have been in the news lately and for good reasons.  When hearing aids receive the sound broadcast directly, be it from the TV or the pulpit in a church – hearing aid users’ speech recognition improves dramatically.  A recent survey in the Hearing Review asked 866 people to rate the performance of their t-coil equipped hearing aids or cochlear implants using a 10-point scale. Their average response was 4.9 in a non-looped setting and 8.7 in a looped environment. In addition, Mark Ross has written imageextensively about the benefits of telecoils as have Doug Beck and Preben Brunved. Sergei Kochkin of the Better Hearing Institute has long advocated for increased utility of hearing aids and envisions a future with “ miniaturized universal wireless receivers in every hearing aid.” Brian Taylor mentioned looping in one of his “pillar-of-the-community” articles.

How to get your community in the loop you ask? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Read how Dr. David Myers, who uses hearing aids, brought hearing loops to his community in Holland MI.
  2. Read my Roadmap to a Looped Community in Audiology Today. Successful looping practices familiarize each patient with the telecoil benefits, provide a hearing loop handout, share the www.loopfinder.com app and take 5 minutes to demonstrate the hearing loop in the waiting room.
  3. Get your patients involved by offering the Let’s Loop America’s Worship Centers  article and ask them to take a copy to  their House of Worship (copies are available from loop vendors or directly from Julietee Sterkens). Encourage patients to speak up when they are unable to hear in a public venue by offering the Share-the-Gift-of-Hearing cards. Ask patients what local venues are important to them and keep a list.
  4. Bring hearing loops to attention of your community by presenting a “Get in the Loop” lecture to area Rotary, Sertoma clubs and church groups. Hearing Loss Association of America members will gladly help carry the hearing loop torch – find a local chapter HLAA chapter here. The American Academy of Audiology offers a free PowerPoint slide show  and  an informative patient handout.
  5. Donate a hearing loop to your local Senior Center or a community meeting room. Get creative – loop a local movie house and in return ask for free advertising.  TV loops like the UniVox CLS-1 Loop Amplifer are easily installed.  Large area hearing loops however, have to meet the IEC 60118-4  standard and require trained hearing loop vendors. If there is no installer in your area, you might be able to interest a local A/V contractor with this Sound & Communications article. Familiarize yourself with what is involved with a professional loop installations so that you can offer advice in the community.
  6. Offer patients not yet in need of amplification loop listening devices. The new WilliamsSound Pocketalker (PKT2.0) is equipped with a telecoil and an affordable solution.  Be sure to check out and order a few LoopBuds once they hit the US Market. These special T-coil equipped earphones from www.OTOjOY.com will transform a smart phone into a loop listening device. This way even CIC and Lyric instrument users will be able to benefit from hearing loops!

Questions? Need a letter of support for a hearing loop in your community? Was asked a question about looping you don’t know how to answer? I am happy to help you.
Email Juliette Sterkens, AuD  
jsterkens@new.rr.com

Jsterkens-realimageThis blog post was contributed by Dr. Juliette Sterkens. She retired after 26 years in her Oshkosh, WI private audiology practice and currently is on her encore career as the Hearing Loss Association of America National Hearing Loop Advocate. Her Loop Wisonsin  website offers useful information for consumers and audiologists.  She received numerous awards for her hearing loop advocacy work including the Wisconsin Audiologist of the Year, Arizona School of Health Sciences 2013 Humanitarian of the Year, the American Academy of Audiology Presidential Award and the UW-Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award. Her work has led to over 500 hearing loop installations in Wisconsin and many more around the US.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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11 Responses to Delight your hearing aid patients: Get them in the loop! – guest post by Juliëtte Sterkens, AuD

  1. Joshua Faris says:

    Hello Juliette,

    I would like to thank you for sharing these useful audiology loop suggestions that help us looping practices publicize with our patient

    I hope you continue providing information and suggestion on hearing loop.

    Kind regards

  2. Linda Lee Fry says:

    I have tinnitus and hypercusis to the point that I hesitate to wear my hearing aids. Would I have to wear my hearing aids in a room that is looped and would the sound quality be just like my hearing aids, which is not good.

    • AU Bankaitis says:

      Hi Linda:
      Work with your audiologist….to gain benefits of a looped environment, your hearing aids require t-coils. Often times, the introduction of meaningful auditory input lowers the perception of tinnitus. Given your hypercusis, creating the necessary hearing aid program to help you benefit from a looped environment is where your audiologist comes into play. For that that do not currently use hearing aids, there are other personal listening devices available (new PockeTalker 2.0 and Comfort Duett) that allow the user to listen in a looped environment using a small hand held device and over the ear headphones. I hope this helps.

  3. FONIX Hearing Aid Analyzers have the ability to evaluate the hearing aid for telecoil functionality.

  4. VeganDee says:

    Thank you for supporting Hearing Loops. Life- changing technology for hard of hearing and deaf folks. Appreciate your efforts to spread the word.

    • AU Bankaitis says:

      Hello VeganDee!
      I have been on a tiny hiatus so I apologize for not getting back to you quicker; I so much appreciate your feedback and hope this helps spread the word about loops. For people with hearing loss, knowing the benefits when making decisions about hearing instrumentation (and the need to ask for a t-coil if not mentioned) is very important.

      • VeganDee says:

        Welcome back! Your efforts to raise awareness for Hearing Loops is crucial to those of us who need them. With gratitude….best always.
        Dee

  5. AU, thank you sharing this advocacy strategy with us. This statement is important and promotes easy-to-do action: “Encourage patients to speak up when they are unable to hear in a public venue by offering the Share-the-Gift-of-Hearing cards”.

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