12 Communication aids (Induction

12 Communication aids (Induction
12 Communication aids
loops, infrared systems, and radio systems)
Induction loops, infra-red systems and radio systems have been developed to
assist people with hearing impairments. The choice of any particular system will
depend on its intended use, the environment in which it is to be installed, and
maintenance issues. Professional advice is strongly recommended before
committing to any one particular system. It is also worth noting that it is more cost
effective to install such pieces of equipment when a building is being constructed or
refurbished, than leaving it until a user requires the service.
Induction loops work by converting sound via a microphone into a varying magnetic
field which is converted back into amplified sound by an individual’s hearing aid.
When switched to loop use (‘T’ switch activated) the hearing aid only picks up
information input via the loops microphone which helps to cut out background
Induction loops should be fitted wherever information is given verbally; i.e. airports,
railway stations, box offices, ticket offices, banks, post offices, churches, meeting
rooms, cinemas and theatres. Where multiple loops are used or confidentiality is an
issue, care should be taken to ensure that “spillover” does not occur.
Infra-red systems work by converting a sound source into an infra-red light.
Individuals wear a special headset to receive the signals and therefore they are
appropriate for installation in controlled areas such as cinemas and theatres. Infrared may be particularly advantageous where confidentiality is required or multiple
channels needed.
Radio receiver enhancement systems work by converting a sound source into radio
signals. Like infra-red systems, the user is required to wear a special headset to
receive the signal. Unlike infrared, radio systems do not require ‘line-of-site’
between sending and receiving equipment and reception is not affected by natural
The availability of communication systems should be clearly identified by the
appropriate symbol (loop, infrared, and radio systems have different symbols).
Part M (2004 Edition) of the Building Regulations requires provision for a hearing
enhancement system to be installed in rooms and spaces designed for meetings,
lectures, classes, performances, spectator sport or films, and at service or
reception counters when they are situated in noisy areas or behind glazed screens.
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