Induction Loop Systems

Quicklinks: What are Induction Loops?   Public Places.   Reporting Faulty Induction Loops.  

Induction Loop systems - What are they?

An induction loop system is designed to work with the T (telecoil) setting on many hearing aids to provide a clearer hearing option for the HOH or deaf person to switch to T input only - cutting out background noise and having. A Induction Loop System consists of:
  1. An induction loop amplifier.
  2. Wire coming from the amplifier, looped around the area it is intended for use in, so around a room, section of a room, or a reception desk.
  3. Input into the system, so the television, or a microphone for the speaker

Where can I get Induction Loop System equipment?

A good place to get both personal and professional Induction Loop System parts is from Connevans which is a very reliable deaf led company which listens to its customers and has fantastic service. There are also several pages on their website which explain Induction Loop Systems in more detail such as this page

The RNID has a guide to Induction Loop and Infra-Red systems for employees managing public venues which should be useful for any organisation thinking of installing such systems. This RNID resource is also useful for sending to organisations which do not have functional or well set up systems - as the DDA legislation requires that such systems where installed are well maintained and configured.

Induction Loops in public places

Many places display Induction Loop System Here signs, sadly many of those systems are not switched on/plugged in, are too quiet, have so much interference as to be useful, or are not working for some other reason. No wonder many deaf and hard of hearing people don't even attempt to use them.

The irony of reporting a non-functioning Induction loop systems is that if the system is not working a deaf person is less likely to be able to hear the responses of the employees as they make the this isn't working report. This is not helped by the way many employees in public places respond.

I have experienced or heard about friends being told the following in response to a "I can't hear anything through your induction loop system" report:

  • "Errrr.... I don't know anything about these Induction Loop System things."

  • "Hey $Colleague! Do you know anything about this loop system thing?"

  • "My Great-Auntie Nora/Granny/Mother-In-Law/Uncle's brother's wife is deaf ... ."

  • I'm a bit deaf myself, not enough for hearing aids mind, but I had glue ear as a kid and... .

  • [They may mean well, but I don't really want to have to try and listen to a long story which is nothing to do with what I am trying to achieve.]

  • "Our Induction Loop System can't possibly be broken/turned off/too quiet, it must be your hearing aids.

  • [Employees who aren't wearing hearing aids have no right to make comments about what you can or cannot hear. They aren't even audiologists, and I barely tolerate this kind of presumption from them!]

  • "We've never had a deaf or hard of hearing customer before!"

  • [If your induction loop system works then deaf and hard of hearing people shouldn't NEED to say anything, they can just flick their hearing aids to 'T' (or plug in the Tcoil adaptor for BAHA wearers).]

With these kinds of responses being common, is it any wonder that many hard of hearing or deaf people who might get some benefits from public Induction Loop Systems don't bother reporting dysfunctional ones to employees in public places!

If you would like an induction loop system checked out then, email me and I will add it to the Requests on the LoopWatch page.

How to report a dysfunctional induction loop system

If you are feeling brave and have the time to do some of these steps then you are not just helping yourself, you are helping every other hard of hearing or deaf person who tries to use that system after you. I know I find it easier to do something or be indignant on someone else's behalf!

Example Scenario:
You arrive at a desk which has the
Induction Loop System here sticker, switch your hearing aid to T (use dongle if a BAHA user) and hear nothing except perhaps a horrible buzzing sound (50Hz mains hum interference).

If you feel unable to start at step one, skip straight to step 3.

  1. Making an initial verbal report to employees.
    • Ask if employees can check the induction loop system is switched on and plugged in correctly (this is surprisingly common!).
    • If the employees are clueless, ask if you can examine the induction loop system infrastructure for yourself.
    • Find the microphone, try tapping it, you should hear something if the system is turned on at all.
    • If employees dismiss your report and claim the induction loop system is working without any attempt to change the settings or functionality of it:
      • This is inapropriate and rude behaviour on their part not yours. You are the hearing aid user not them.
      • Try not to let this make you feel bad or put your off your quest for a functioning Induction Loop System.
      • Consider reporting the lack of function induction loop system AND mentioning the employees' response(s) and how they upset you.

  2. If an initial verbal report does not result in a working induction loop system.
    • Ask employees to report the dysfunctional induction loop system to an appropriate superior as soon as possible.
    • Return to the venue in 7-14 days to check if a verbal report has resulted in a functional induction loop system.

  3. If verbal report(s) have had no result or you wish to make the initial report in writing.
    • Check the organisation's venue or website and identify a suitable recipient for the letter e.g. venue manager, or customer service representative.
    • Send a postal letter, this is more formal and likely to have more impact than email.
    • Use the RNID Know Your Rights Pack which contains guidance for writing these letters including sample/standard letters and appropriate factsheets to include.
    • DO include information about employees' initial reactions to your verbal report if applicable:
      • If employees knowledge about Induction loop systems and deaf awareness were poor request that employees are provided with better training.
      • If employees were rude describe and explain why whatever they said/did was rude and ask that they are given better training as well as a reminder that what they said was inapropriate.
      • If employees were understanding and deaf aware (looking at you when speaking, speaking slowly and clearly, pointing, writing things down etc) please do compliment the organisation for training their employees well and ask that employees are given that compliment directly.

  4. If you receive a reply which claims that the problem has been fixed:
    • You will need to revisit the place to check the 'fixed' status of the Induction Loop System for yourself.
    • If it is fixed:
      • At the time of your visit thank employees for the repair and tell them that it is working nicely.
      • Write a follow up to your original letter thanking the organisation for correcting the problem
      • Both of these actions will foster goodwill and increase good Induction Loop System and deaf awareness practice
    • If the problem has not been fixed:
      • Make another verbal report if you feel inclined to do so.
      • Reply to the 'problem solved' letter saying that you have revisited the place in question and found that there are still problems.
      • Provide as much information as possible, especially if the quality or function of the Induction Loop System has changed
      • If you are willing and able, offer to visit in person to help senior employees configure the Induction Loop System.

  5. If you receive an unsatisfactory reply to your letter
    • Write a letter back explaining why their original reply was inapropriate.
      • Unsatisfactory includes: denying the need for the problem to be fixed, excuses for lack of resolution, denial of responsibility.
    • Use content from the RNID Know Your Rights Pack - referencing the Disability Discrimination Act where appropriate.

  6. If your letter is not answered within the 21 days.
    • Write another letter enclosing a copy of the original letter(s) and restate your problem and your request for a reply
    • Send the letter as 'signed for' delivery, or hand it in to the place yourself - asking for a receipt.
    • It may be worth escalating the seniority of recipients of your letters, for example:
      • A more senior employee within the organisation e.g. a more senior manager.
      • Send it to the board of directors of the organisation.
      • CEO of the organisation
      • Inform all recipients of all the other recipients, preferably by name and position.
    • Advise the recipients of your intended actions if a satisfactory resolution to the original problem and subsequent communication failures is not reached.
      • Tell recipients who else you will consider writing to, or have written to.
      • Name individuals who have ignored correspondance or who have replied unsatisfactorily.
      • Legal steps you are entitled (and possibly willing) to take - ensure you are correct if you do this.

  7. If several letters to several people throughout an organisation fail to result in a repair of the induction loop system AND a satisfactory reply you can:
    • Contact the RNID Casework Service who may be able to advise you on the next steps to take. (Unfortunately it doesn't look like they can take on individual cases).
    • Consider embarrassment factors, so local press and anyone else who will publish a factual version of events.
    • Make a formal and legal DDA action case against the organisation. Contact CAB, or a lawyer for support with this.

page last modified Tuesday, 20-Jun-2006 18:41:43 BST


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