Category Archives: Assistive Technology

Will Hearing Loops Replace TV Ears?
Could the Hearing Loop mean the end of TV Ears?

I don’t know if anyone here has ever conducted a survey of the top ten things that really stress relationships, particularly in a multi-generational home, but I would guess the volume of the TV makes the top ten. Ok, maybe the top three. šŸ™‚

There’s potential solution to the problem making it’s way from public spaces into the home: hearing loops or assistive listening systems.

The basic technology, called an induction loop, has been around for decades as a means of relaying signals from a telephone to a tiny receiver called a telecoil, or t-coil, that can be attached to a hearing aid. Telecoils are also used to receive signals from loops connected to microphones in halls, stores, taxicabs and a host of other places.

A hearing loop, typically installed on the floor around the periphery of a room, is a thin strand of copper wire radiating electromagnetic signals that can be picked up by a tiny receiver already built into hearing aids and cochlear implants. When the receiver is turned on, the hearing aid receives only the sounds coming directly from a microphone, not the background cacophony.

Great Britain and most of Northern Europe already lead the way in having these loops in place. Part of the widespread use is attributed to the fact that nearly all the hearing aids distributed by the National Institutes of Health have T-coils in them. In the U.S. only about 30%.

Hearing Loop: Comparing Subway Sounds
Click on the image to isten to an audio clip of a hearing loop in a NY subway.

“People with hearing loss can dream of a future when hearing aids might also serve as wireless loudspeakers, delivering clear, customized sound from inside their ears. They can dream of communities where worship places, auditoriums, business windows, and home TV rooms all broadcast their sound through these in-the-ear loudspeakers,” says David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich. and founder of has more information about the technology including places to purchase it and people who can install a loop system in your home.

We may have to coin a new phrase: “The Loop System Sounds Too Good To be True.” We predict that soon a lot of people will be able to remove at least one level of stress in their relationships because it really is true.

Smart or “robo-cars” are on the rise and their features may soon become standards. “From proactive safety systems (like cars that self-slam their brakes for errant pedestrians) to parental controls that can limit radio volume for teen drivers” writes Missy Sullivan for Smart Money Magazine.Ā  Ā Social media is hot and driving the trend in the… Continue Reading

Personal mobility devices, like wheel chairs and scooters, give millions of people with varying degrees of ability a sense of freedom. Now a new generation of devices are coming off the drawing board starting with the revolutionary Segueway. Honda’s U3X kicks it up a notch. Lightweight and easy to ride it makes it highly portable.… Continue Reading

Video: First Person in US to try the HAL Suit (see below) More feedback back on The Community is Walkable, Are You? prompted this look at Exoskeletons in general and the ‘HAL Robot Suit’ specifically. HAL is the “Hybrid Assistive Limb” and, what makes HAL special is that is a “voluntary control system” as well… Continue Reading

The desire to age in place in a walkable community is building nationally. There is a lot to be said for not having to use a car to make little trips around your community. The problem is that for some people walking has become more difficult. Especially if hills or stairs are impediments. Well, good… Continue Reading Advisor Louis Tenenbaum wrote us about a report he helped prepare:Ā  ā€œAging in Place 2.0 Rethinking Solutions to the Homecare Challengeā€Ā released earlier this month by MetLifeā€™s Mature Market Institute. According to the report communities, government and the public and private sectors will need to make sweeping changes to accommodate older Americansā€™ desire to remain… Continue Reading Age in place at home, it's where you want to be.