How Ray uses that iPod

Even before Ray wanted an iPod, he wanted to be able to listen to music or games.  CD players, radios, even GameBoys all have audio output jacks that fit standard headphones.  But, standard headphones or ear buds don’t work very well when you wear behind the ear hearing aids.  Headphones tend to cause feed back, or make everything muffled.  To use ear buds you have to remove your hearing aids altogether.

So, several years ago I went on the hunt for something that would work with hearing aids.  That’s when I began to understand the T-coil technology built into his hearing aids.  A T-coil or telecoil is an induction coil. An induction coil is simply a metal rod that is encircled by many turns of a copper wire. Placed in an alternating magnetic field, an alternating electrical current is “induced” in the copper wire. (Reciprocally, an electrical current in a wire creates a tiny magnetic field around it.) What happens is that the coil converts (changes) magnetic energy to electrical energy, in much the same way that a microphone converts sounds waves to electrical energy. Generally, the strength of the inductive pick-up is determined by the number of turns of the copper wire around the metal axis rod. Larger rods permit more turns and more powerful telephone coils. Newer “T” coils include an integrated amplifier, which makes it feasible to reduce the physical size of the “T” coil and still operate effectively.  It’s the T-coil switch on the hearing aid that makes the hearing aid wearing better able to understand sound over the telephone.

epicI first found out about how to use T-coil technology in place of headphones from a deaf/HOH adult on a message board.  He directed me to a website called The Hearing Loss Help Company, which is owned and operated by a deaf/HOH entrepreneur.  For Christmas I purchased for Ray, a set of Hatis Epics, a type of silhouette which sits between the hearing aid and the head and uses T-coil technology to transmit sound to the user. DSC_4500sm When I purchased them they were about $75, which I thought was high.  Now in checking the prices, they are even higher, at well over $100 for the stereo, binaural, set.  Luckily, Ray has been very careful with his and even after several years of use they are still working as “good as new”.  He really likes using them and they work with any of his electronic devices that can use headphones or ear buds, including that all important iPod.  I’ve recently seen some less expensive models, but we’ve not had an opportunity to try them out.  I’ve seen a review, by an individual who wears hearing aids, concerning the Music-LinkThis individual claimed that the Music-Link also worked quite well.  At $50 a pair, it would be worth trying them.  In searching, I also found another type of silhouette, the Dual Silhouette S-02 GT, which is $56, but I have not heard from anyone using this one.