To benefit from a telecoil in a hearing loop it needs to be a vertically oriented as worn on the ear – something that can be handled for use on the phone by modifying the position of handset - and the telecoil has to have a frequency response that closely matches the microphone sensitivity at equal input levels for the speech frequencies (60 dB SPL vs. 31.6 mA/m inputs) – something called transparency. In other words: When you switch from mic to T setting the hearing aid should sound the same (meaning have the same frequency response) and be equally loud (meaning the gain for the two different inputs – magnetic and acoustic - have to match/be transparent.) Think of switching from 0 degree Celsius to 32 degrees Fahrenheit – the temperatures should feel the same to you even though they have a different number value assigned to them).
Please know that some telecoils are incapable of providing the necessary gain in the telecoil mode to do this. They were not designed that way.
European hearing aid makes are required to meet the Nordic telecoil standard in the test mode but US based MFRs do not (always) follow this standard. The Nordic Telecoil standard requires that a telecoil provides the same gain and output to a 60-dB acoustic versus a 60-dB magnetic (or 31.6 mA/m) input in the vertical magnetic field in the reference test setting. Know that this transparency doesn’t always happen in the programmed setting. That is why it is so important that your provider verify the telecoil in the test box.
Ask if your provider owns an Audioscan Verifit model as it has a very simple (20 second) telecoil verification test built in the test box.
This so called SPLIV test (V stands for vertical telecoil test – as opposed to the SPLITS telecoil test) was recently adopted/added to the ANSI standard to provide audiologists the information they need to see at a glance if hearing aids are equipped with good vertical telecoils. The bad news is that it will be while yet before the FDA will approve this change – this approval process can take up to 3-4 years.
An audiologist cannot simply “increase the gain” in the software if the telecoil is poorly oriented or underpowered, as this will increase internal noise and may meet the gain, but still not meet the output levels that you need.
My recommendation: If you have issues with the telecoil in your Starkey Muse hearing aids you need to 1) go back to see your hearing care provider and ask for clarification (I was unable to find a professional spec on the MUSE hearing aids on line), 2) request that a SPLIV test at your user settings be completed or ask to try another set of (European) instruments. You want to absolutely happy with your hearing aid purchase.
My apologies for my rather technical and lengthy response. I have found that even long-time hearing aid users as well as many hearing care providers do not truly understand the relation between the telecoil response, the hearing loop standard and how it relates to the users’ needs in a hearing loop. I wrote this to educate all who are interested. If you have any additional questions I can be reached via my hearing loop advocacy website www.LoopWisconsin.com.
The telecoil works best in a looped environment when it's in the vertical position. That's very important as head position can change the performance of the telecoil. Next the telecoil program must be programmed like all other programs to get best benefit and satisfaction. To learn more about telecoils in looped venues you can contact a professional induction loop company who has an audiologist on board.
The default settings may be set to half loop half mic, you may want a loop which is loop only. It is also worth checking with your audiology professional that you have the correct loop program activated. It could be set as a phone loop when you need a setting for the theatre for example. You can sometimes have multiple loop programs. As was stated by one of my industry colleagues the loop program like other programs can be adjusted for volume & clarity.
The "T" coil in your hearing aids is a T4, which is the strongest Tcoil available. The difficulty you are having may be due to one or a combination of 3 things:
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