Founded in 1987, Ampetronic is celebrating reaching the grand old age of 25 years. A quarter century in which the business has built on the energy and passion of its founder, Leon Pieters, to deliver technology in the service of those with hearing loss. With each year, Ampetronic’s team has grown consistently, both within the headquarters in the UK, and through the ever expanding community of customers and users around the world. As has its desire to bring high quality sound back to the lives of those who use its systems to help their daily lives.
Of course 25 years is young in the science of induction loops. Illustrious names such as Franklin, Faraday and Tesla experimented with electromagnetic fields as early as the 1700’s, then in 1937, Joseph Poliakoff first filed a patent in the UK 1937 for an Induction Loop Hearing Assistance System featuring what was called a ‘telephone coil’.
This patent was picked up by the UK’s Multitone Electric Company in 1938 that then brought to market what is thought to be the first Telecoil enabled hearing aid, the Multitone VPM, which fitted into a user’s top pocket (Vest Pocket Model) and was fitted with external earphones.
The implications and benefits for combining an induction loop, driven by an audio amplifier, that completely surrounded a user with a Telecoil enabled hearing aids was obvious. Experimentation with simple voltage drive systems was particularly prevalent in the late 60’s and 70’s in Scandinavia and started to be fitted into places of worship and schools.
In the early 1970’s the first ‘behind the ear’ hearing aids featuring Telecoils were invented, and in 1974 the UK’s National Health Service began prescribing the technology to hearing impaired patients, many of whom received the hearing aids free of charge. This encouraged the development of amplifier technology that could make a more reliable and powerful magnetic field.
In the 1980’s Leon and the Ampetronic team began to rapidly develop the technology in the UK. Leon, a Methodist preacher as well as talented electronics engineer, understood first-hand the trouble his congregation had hearing the word. Combining these worlds, Leon pioneered high quality current drive loop amplifiers, transforming the concept into a serious solution for assistive listening.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today in many parts of the world, loop technology is the default assistive listening technology, providing direct sound to user’s hearing aids, giving a discrete and optimized experience to every user. And while approaching 80 years old, the technology is being adopted ever faster each year in new places and new ways. The potential for using loop technology to help those with hearing loss is still enormous, from use in transport networks and vehicles, to point of sale counters, intercoms and sports venues.
Over the 25 years, Ampetronic has brought many innovations to the industry, driven new legislation and standards around the world, opened up new possibilities for those with hearing loss, and today continues from strength to strength. Now under the management of Leon’s son, Julian, Ampetronic is the largest and most respected provider of loop technologies around the world, with systems from the most prestigious concert halls to the counter of your local train station, from university lecture halls to taxi cabs. In Julian’s words: “The team at Ampetronic is excited to be crossing the 25 year milestone leading a global drive for high quality hearing solutions. With the commitment and energy of this team and the rapid development of interest in our technologies around the world, who knows what we can achieve in the next 25 years!”.