Hearing loops: old school for current communication issues

Authors: Clara B Iplinsky* 1 ; Adriane Mortari 1 ; Natalia Frederigue-Lopes 1; Regina Jacob 1

Bauru School of Dentistry- University of São Paulo

Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) are products, instruments, or equipment designed to improve the functionality of hearing aids (HA) devices for people with hearing loss (HL) by improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).Hearing loop has been used for a long time in countries such as the United States of America and others in Europe. In Brazil, this technology is not present in public spaces either. According to the Brazilian Law of Inclusion (Law 13.146, 7th June 2015) accessibility is a right of any person, with or without disabilities. Adverse listening environments are an obstacle for HA users to access public spaces, therefore the hearing loop is a mechanism that promotes social inclusion.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the benefit of the hearing loop for the HA user in a public environment using speech perception test in noise for HA users with and without the use of a hearing loop in a reception of a Hearing Health Service. The Assistive Technology Validation (ATV) Protocol was adopted. The Hearing in Noise Test Brazil (HINT) was applied with a fixed SNR at -10dBSNR and a satisfaction poll containing five questions. The participants’ evaluation was based on counting the number of words repeated correctly, based on the word recognition index proposed by Valente (1998).Only the words that were pronounced completely were considered correct. Satisfaction poll scores follow the motivation tool “” The Line””, corresponding 0 to “”not at all”” and 10 as “”very much.
There was performance improvement of all participants when using the hearing loop, and rated this condition as satisfactory. Therefore, scientific evidence shows that the benefits of the hearing loop can support the development of public policies and support audiologists on the counseling process and HA users decision option.

The hearing loop has demonstrated benefits for speech perception in noise for people with HL, improved communication comfort and confidence with the use of this ALD.