Innovation for Independence

Induction Loop App and Telecoil

Induction Loop App and Telecoil
Publish date:
12/01/2015 - 11:08am
Last updated:
12/01/2015 - 11:09am

We propose to develop an app that could be used to a) identify or test available induction loop systems at public venues and shops and b) to use as a personal listening device by those who have hearing loss but do not wear a hearing aid (via headphones). This app will be ready to use with an accompanying Telecoil which picks up the loop signal and plugs into the smartphone. Though personal listening devices and loop testing field indicators currently exist in the market, these are robust pieces of equipment that users would need to carry around. Each function is performed by a separate piece of equipment. We believe this idea is original because this app will combine both functions and would be available via an app that can be downloaded on to a smart phone.

Insight & Impact

Action on Hearing Loss (RNID) report that of the 10 million people in total who are affected with Hearing loss in the UK, around 2 million people currently have a hearing aid and that a further 4 million people who do not have hearing aids would benefit from them. As the leading Hearing Loss charity in the UK, our information line often speak with members of the public whose biggest criticism of service providers is that hearing loop systems in shops and other public venues are not switched on or not working. One of the biggest reasons for this is that loop systems are not regularly tested and that frontline staff at these premises currently do not know how to test their loop systems and what equipment is available. This results in hearing aid users facing tremendous barriers when accessing services. This app will enable a) service providers to regularly check that their loop systems (via headphones) are working and b) hearing aid users to detect a working hearing loop in the premises. Further to this, others with hearing loss who do not wear a hearing aid could also use this app as a personal listening device, that is, to listen to the loop system with the use of headphones.

Skills needed for this project

  • Specialist product technologist
  • Product development
  • Android/Apple app developers
  • Manufacturer (for telecoil) though we expect that early prototypes could be handmade.