15 minutes of fame – changing people’s lives with the T-coil

May 5, 2011

Ampetronic's Sales Director writes about how little it takes to change people's lives with telecoils and induction loops.  Originally written for AudiologyNOW.

15 Minutes of Fame

In 1968 Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." I am not confident that this is going to be true for me and not wishing to single out Audiologist s, just suppose it’s not true for you either. Well, like me, you might not be too concerned about the momentary fame and fortune but what could you do in 15 minutes that would have a profound impact on at least one person’s life?

Just under a year ago, I was providing some training for a group of deaf and hard of hearing professionals from DeafHear, the national Irish organisation for the deaf and hard of hearing. The group had varying degrees of hearing loss, but without exception, they were all relaxed listening to me through the hearing loop system. The training was on how to set up and commission an induction loop system to the international standard IEC60118-4 2006, which meant I had to turn the hearing loop off. It was at this point that all eyes went to the signer…. I was amazed at the difference using the hearing loop made.

The group was all well educated and appeared to have the latest digital aids but without the additional clarity of the hearing loop, they clearly struggled to understand me. I commented on my observation and they said, “Oh yes! We all like our T-coils” and Gerard, one of the senior counselors went on to say.

But do you know, half the audiologists and private hearing aid dispensers here know nothing much about them or the benefits of them?. Two weeks ago I was counseling a young lad with cochlear implants. He is 17 and off to university next year, so I was telling him what support he can expect from us and his chosen university. However, the lad seemed more interested in the blue flashing pendent I was wearing. “What’s that,” he asked. “Oh that’s my blue tooth receiver, it works with my T-coil and allows me to use the mobile phone,” I replied. “I’ve never used the mobile phone “said the lad, “I can’t. It always whistles. “

All cochlear implants in Ireland have T-coils. I leant over and switched his implant to the T position. I put my blue tooth receiver over his head and handed him my mobile, call your mum, I said. He made his very first telephone call at the age of 17. He had been living with the technology for at least 12 years by then.”

The discussions with Gerard made me wonder how long it takes to set up the T-coil and explain its use. I decided to find out and spoke to Juliette Sterkens AuD and asked her the question. “Only 15 minutes” she replied. Certainly not long for fame and no time at all to make a profound change to a person’s life.

Dear Ken,

I was only too delighted to help you out but it is you that is about to make the impact to those who have ears to hear if only they would listen to you in order to help those who can't.

I’ve made a few changes and have added a piece whether you would want to add it into your presentation or not, that I leave for you to decide and I am granting you with my permission to use the story. In doing so, I want to thank you personally for what you are about to do and for those whom you never have met nor will meet, the impact and the improvement on their quality of life.

"God bless America," if only you could help them!!!!

Kind Regards


Here are the additional comments from Gerard Holmes

The T-coil on hearing aids has given me a new lease of life that enables me to go to cinemas and theaters that have the loop system installed with my wife and family. Also with a personal loop listening device, I’m able to attend external meetings in relation to my work, listen to my ipod, TV, computer; even in my 8 seater MPV, I set the loop transmitter secured under the head-rest on the middle row seat so that I can participate in the conversation while driving instead of remaining in silence”

It’s just another button on the hearing aid, but it opens the window of wonder to a fabulous new lease of life that every hearing aid user should experience.

Many a time when I do an assessment on our service users especially the new ones, I hook them up to the telephone, TV listening device, and Personal Listening Device using their “T” switch. You should see their faces lighting up with a glow wondering what has happened.

I over heard one lady saying to her daughter south of the country, ”It’s been years since I’ve heard anything as good as this and it’s so wonderful that I can hear you. Now my phone bills will be much higher but to heck with it. It will be worth it just to hear your voice again. Oh I can’t wait to talk to my brothers and sisters scattered around the whole world. ” And with the tears trickling down the side of her face I had to get her a T-coil compatible telephone.

For them to come in with their gloom and doom faces and then leave happy, smiling and enlightened with hope to go forward, it is so rewarding. I know what it’s like for I am a Service Provider as well as a Service User and I do love my job!

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