Induction loop systems (also known as audio loop systems, hearing loop systems and T- loop systems) can benefit hearing aid users in commercial and domestic environments, making it easier for them to communicate.
Newtech has been supplying and installing induction loop systems for over 25 years. We have installed systems in all types of premises inc. schools, churches, hospitals, sports centres, museums and private residences. Our induction loop installers have a wealth of experience in the practicalities of fitting loop systems to the highest standards.
What are Induction Loop Systems?
An induction loop system is an audio amplifying system that enables hearing aid users to listen to conversations, performances or the television without the excessive background noise that is produced from the hearing aid’s inbuilt microphone when they increase the volume. The sound source, for example a microphone on a desk, is plugged into a loop amplifier which feeds a loop cable fixed around the perimeter of the room.
The audio signal is transmitted from the loop cable and picked up by the coil housed within the hearing aid. The hearing aid user simply switches their hearing aid to the T position to hear clearly. Please note, only hearing aids with a T switch will pick up the signal from a induction loop system.
Types of Induction Loop Systems
Our staff have a wealth of knowledge and experience to call upon when choosing a loop system to suit your requirements. Our systems include:
- Domestic loop systems
- Reception counter / Desk loop systems
- Loop systems for large venues
- Multi zone loop systems
- Portable systems
- Combined audio visual system incorporating induction loop systems
Newtech can explain the applications of all types of induction loop system and how they can benefit hearing aid users within homes, businesses, churches or public centres.
Domestic Loop Systems
Newtech’s home induction loop systems are designed for use within lounges and communal rooms in the home. The small and lightweight loop amplifier is easy to operate and connects either directly to a TV or is used together with a microphone. Features of the home loop system are:
- Microphone inputs enabling you to listen to the radio, television or other devices within the home (such as the doorbell) through the loop system.
- Mini microphone provided.
- Scart lead for TV connection provided.
- Suitable for rooms up to 6 x 6 m.
Reception Counter / Desk Induction Loop Systems
Newtech can install a counter top loop system on most types of reception and cashier desks. It will give hearing aid users the ability to hear staff loudly and clearly, avoiding confusion and embarrassment. Customers simply switch to the T setting on their hearing aid to hear the assistant. Background noise is eliminated, allowing the transaction to be completed in a relaxed and pleasant manner. If the customer does not have a T switch on their hearing aid, a loop listening unit can be provided.
The counter loop operates around the surface area of the desk and only radiates for approximately 1 metre, therefore maintaining the privacy of the user. The loop amplifier and cable are fixed to the underside of the desk and a desk microphone picks up the voice of the member of staff.
If you require a counter loop system, Newtech will provide you with information and costing on the best system for you. If you would like an on-site consultation, please contact us and will be pleased to help you. Consultations are free of charge, depending on the location.
Portable Induction Loop System (PILS)
This popular all-in-one induction loop system is small and lightweight and easy to use. It is supplied with a loop amplifier, microphone, loop cable and rechargeable battery. It generates a loop listening field of approx 1.2 msq and has a simple on/off operation. When not in use it can be easy stored under a desk or in a cupboard and taken out when required. The unit has a integral cut-off timer with setting of 10, 30, or 60 minutes which helps to prevent the battery discharging. It is ideal for schools, shops, nursing homes, leisure centres, hotels, banks, GP surgeries or any reception desk.
Multi-zone & Large Venues
Newtech has experience of designing and installing induction loop systems in all types of venues from large school halls to theatres. Please see our case studies for information on recent projects and contact a member of our sales team for more information.
Loop Listening Unit
In order to confirm that a induction loop system is working correctly we recommend purchasing a loop listening unit, which provides a means of listening to induction loop systems. It acts in the same way as a hearing aid switched to the T position, by picking up the signal from the induction loop system and amplifying it to the supplied headphones.
This unit should be used regularly to check the signal quality of a loop system and ensure that it is working correctly. It can also be given to people who do not have a hearing aid or to those who have a hearing aid that does not have a T (loop) function.
Design & Installation Services
- Site survey
- Commissioning & training
- Maintenance service
The site survey is to assess:
- The use of the premises.
- Location and dimensions of the required working area.
- Whether the room configuration is permanent or subject to change.
- Whether structural or reinforcing steelwork is present or whether there is expanded or perforated metal in the wall lining.
- The presence or planned introduction of any equipment that might interfere with the induction loop system. For example, lifts, stage lighting equipment, under floor heating, fluorescent lighting and electronic dimming equipment. It should be possible to design the loop system so that any interference from these sources can be minimised however, ideally measures will to be taken to suppress the interference at source. The level of background magnetic field will be measured at a number of points over the coverage area.
- The presence of any equipment which might be subject to magnetic interference from the induction loop system such as telephones, computer terminals and electrical equipment.
- Possible routes for the loop cable.
- Possible positions for microphones.
All the factors listed above will help us to select the appropriate equipment and design for your system. The result will be a bespoke system with suitable loop amplifier, microphones and connection points matched to the environment.
Installing a Loop System
Systems are best installed by experienced induction loop installers.
A loop cable will be fixed around the perimeter of the room/desk/building via whichever route has been agreed in the initial site survey and run back to wherever the loop amplifier is positioned. Care will be taken to ensure the cable is secure, inconspicuous and in harmony with the room. Our technicians will identify the best route for the loop cable. Where it is necessary for the loop cable to run parallel with other audio or electric cables it will be kept as far away from them as is practical. Running loop cables in close proximity to electrical/audio/data cables can be acceptable for short distances but is best avoided if possible. Only loop cable supplied or specified by Newtech should be used with our loop amplifiers. If wired microphones are needed they will be either plugged directly into the socket on the loop amplifier, or microphone connection boxes will be installed, allowing the microphone to be used in a different part of the room. Alternatively, wireless radio microphones can be supplied. The loop amplifier itself can be positioned wherever is convenient either wall mounted, placed in a cupboard, shelving unit or in a separate storage room.
Induction loop systems may pick up interference from electrical devices found in the home or business premises including, fluorescent lighting, dimming lights, computer monitors, electricity meters and cabling for various applications (notably mains cables). It is for this reason that we recommend a site survey to be completed before a induction loop system is installed. In exceptional cases where the level of EMI from electrical devices and cabling within a room is beyond acceptable limits, an induction loop system will be rendered useless and another option (such as an infra red system) will be recommended instead. Our induction loop installers will always check the level of interference before proceeding with the cable installation.
The standard model for induction loop systems involves installing a loop cable around the perimeter of the room. However, the magnetic field is not confined within the exact area of the loop and ‘overspill’ beyond the edge of the loop will occur. This may not be a problem if there are no privacy issues or only one loop system is used on the premises, but where privacy is an issue or multiple induction loop systems are in close proximity, alternative solution need to be considered. It is possible to design and install multiple loop systems in close proximity and to control the amount of overspill (and therefore cross-talk) and Newtech Southern can advise you on how this can be achieved. In a small amount of cases infrared systems may prove to be more a effective option.
Metal in Buildings
The signal created from the loop cable can be blocked or degraded by various metals used within buildings. In exceptional cases it can cause significant degrading of the strength of the loop field. This issue can be dealt with through careful planning of the cabling route, perhaps running it within the floor screed (in PVC conduit) or surface mounted on top of a skirting board or dado rail around the room.
Commissioning and Training
After the installation, the system will be fully tested to BS 7594 and EN60118.4 specifications (British Standard Code of Practice for audio frequency induction loop systems) and set to the exact configuration in which the system will be used. The operation of the system will then be demonstrated and explained to staff, where any important points concerning the operation of the system will be highlighted. Commissioning loop systems to current standards requires specialist testing equipment but (where possible) a hearing aid user should be present to provide their opinion of the clarity of the loop system.