How To Conduct A Hearing / Induction Loop Design Survey
Location, Location, Location
There are many reasons to conduct a hearing / induction loop design survey.
Choosing the right hearing hoop requires a careful assessment of your business and venue’s unique needs.
Each location is different, just as every person with a hearing impairment is different, so understanding how to cater to everyone who has need of your service is crucial to getting it right.
In this quick guide and to ensure you get the best possible results, we’ll explain the key considerations you need to explore when conducting your own hearing loop design survey.
Do You Need A Loop System?
Using a hearing loop is the most effective way of catering to the hearing impaired and helps to dramatically reduce the gaps in communication which could otherwise occur for a hearing aid user.
Hearing loops work by separating the noise from the background and the noise in the foreground.
This ensures an effective and useful system which works at the point of use and keeps the most important information clear for the person who needs to hear it.
Whilst having hearing loop provisions is now a legal requirement, there is little point installing the wrong tech for your needs as this will only prove costly and ineffective.
Before beginning, carefully assess the following factors.
Check For Background Noise Or Reverberation?
Check the room you are intending to install a system into.
- Is there enough background noise to disrupt the hearing aid user’s understanding?
- Small rooms with a lower reverberation may not require a system, but places such as shop floors, meeting rooms and venues with a high footfall most certainly need this technology.
Check That You Have Audio-Input Access?
Each hearing loop system works by amplifying noise and sending it back to the hearing aid.
- Therefore, the system requires an audio input or microphone which is dedicated to serving this purpose, to ensure you don’t simply amplify all existing background noise.
- Omni-directional microphones are not fit for this purpose, as they simply amplify ‘all noise’ instead of the noise which must be heard.
What Is The ‘Volume Of Use’ Required?
Your hearing loop creates a magnetic field, the strength and frequency of which determines how far the signal carries.
- To attain the correct listening strength for your users’ hearing aids, it’s important you have a grasp of the height at which they will be positioned, this will be different in a conference room setting (where listeners may be sitting) and at a shop counter, for instance.
- Will the listeners be static, or moving around? This helps you to assess adequately the type of system required and can avoid any noise disturbance.
- If you are aware that hearing aid users are going to be seated, this would be an example where a fixed hearing loop would be more helpful than a portable variety.
- Which areas of the room require coverage? Consider any areas where listening is not required, and focus on the areas where listening is essential to decide your level and range of coverage.
What Are Your Performance Requirements?
Good audio design in this context must meet the required international performance requirements for a loop system to provide a benefit.
- Check the field strength and frequency response of your own model, as well as it’s ability to block out unwanted background noise, is essential.
- Remember a high-quality system should be measured to check background noise is kept to an absolute minimum
- Consider it’s very important to never cut corners on this equipment and always leave your hearing loop design in the hands of the experts.
- Not only is performance a key factor, but meeting legal requirements must also be assured to comply with UK law.
What Are The Signal Sources?
- Put simply, who do you need the listener to hear?
- Will your audio be coming from a single source or several?
- To ensure an intelligible audio feed you need to know whether your audio signal will be static, moving, include multiple speakers, or be reliant upon an existing audio system you have previously installed.
- Will it be a social event, a roundtable discussion, a classroom or conference?
Communicate all of these elements to your hearing loop expert at the outset.
Are There Any Obstacles Which Could Affect Your Audio?
Metal structures can adversely affect your audio feed, and unfortunately, they are found in many modern buildings.
This obstacle can be overcome, it shouldn’t be ignored and should instead be acknowledged as a means of ensuring you don’t end up with a severely reduced signal.
The noise loss is greater when you are relying on higher audio frequencies, but the type of obstruction is also key.
Which Loop Layout Do You Require?
Different ‘loops’ will serve different areas.
A counter loop or one-to-one system would be ideal for a counter, reception area or simple person-to-person communications, but a perimeter loop would be better suited to a medium-sized room where the noise field needs to be greater.
Rooms which suffer obstruction can opt for a single array loop, good for fixed-seating arrangements.
For even trickier spaces, there is also the opportunity to add a cancellation loop or a single array current for when a perimeter loop is not possible.
Selecting The Right Materials
A hearing loop expert will be able to assist you in selecting the right cables and installation type for your needs, based on a careful assessment of the room and all of the elements described in this guide information.
You will also need to determine the total cable length which will be connected to each amplifying device, and consider any additional practicalities which could help or hinder your installation.
Book a Consultation with the Specialists at HearingLoop.co.uk
Unsure which hearing loop design is right for your business?
Get in touch with HearingLoop.co.uk to discuss your requirements with our friendly team of professionals.
We can help with everything from your Design Survey to your installation.