What is an Infrared Hearing system?
An infrared hearing system is an assistive audio system to aid communication with hearing impaired people and is a popular alternative to an induction loop system.
A typical system consists of an audio source, an infrared radiator (transmitter) and infrared listening receivers. Receivers are usually available at a customer service desk, so it may be advisable for hearing aid wearers to contact a venue prior to visiting, and for the venue itself to ensure that staff are well versed in how Infrared systems work.
Infrared Hearing System Products
How does an Infrared Hearing System work?
Sound from a microphone, sound system or any other audio source is input to a modulator, which produces an electrical signal containing the audio information. The resulting electric current in the induction loop produces a small magnetic field.
The hearing aid user can pick up this field when they switch their hearing instrument to the ‘T’ position. The user is then able to hear audible sound very clearly with the background noise significantly reduced, the loop will provide audio to the individual hearing aid user within the magnetic and is designed for one to one communication. This signal is converted to an infrared (IR) signal for transmission via the radiator, the radiator diodes produce the (invisible) infrared light and emits it into the room. Receivers are used to convert the infrared light signal back into an electrical signal and then into an audio signal again (or a personal induction loop if used by a hearing aid wearer).
There is no limit to the number of receivers that can be used on a system.
To use a receiver with a hearing or cochlear implant, a lanyard must be worn so that the receiver lies on your chest. This is so that the receiver doesn’t become obstructed or lose signal. Ideally, a wearer should also sit away from windows or internal pillars as this could result in signal loss.
What is the difference between Infrared & Induction Loop Systems?
A portable solution, an Infrared System also has the added advantage of providing complete privacy, as it cannot be heard from outside the room. This is unlike an induction loop system which can have overspill that can permeate walls, ceilings, or floors. A further advantage is that there is no loop wire to run around the room so it is easier to install in rooms with multi-levels e.g. theatres, or wide areas e.g. exhibition halls.
Individuals are able to use an infrared system even if they don’t use a hearing aid or cochlear implant. In those instances, individuals are able to bring their own headphones to plug into the system.
How does an Infrared Hearing System help?
An infrared hearing system is an assistive sound system ensuring clear speech is heard from a microphone source directly to the user and works well for both the hearing impaired or those with normal hearing. There is also no loop wire to run around the room so it is easier to install in rooms with multi-levels is very portable, so ideal for meeting room, theatres, or wide areas such as exhibition halls.
To ensure you find a system which best meets your requirements, we recommend discussing your needs with one of our engineers. They will be pleased to provide product support and a no obligation evaluation of your environment to help you find the optimal product.
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