by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man explained,
My Mom wears aids and one of them is t- coil compatible. I’m investigating the notion of me wearing a microphone and transmitting my voice right to her aid when we are in noisy situations such as at the mall, in restaurants and in outdoor locations. Do you know if there are microphones like that out there?
Sure. What you are describing is an FM system. You would speak into a lapel microphone that is plugged into an FM transmitter that you would wear on your belt or in your pocket. Simply attach the lapel microphone to your shirt collar or tie so the microphone is as close to your mouth as possible. This cuts down the background noise your mom would otherwise hear and makes your voice sound as clear as possible to her.
Your mom would wear the corresponding FM receiver. If the clothes she is wearing don’t have pockets, or a belt, she can wear the receiver on a lanyard around her neck. She would wear a neckloop or Music Links plugged into the earphone jack of the FM receiver. To use the FM system, all she needs to do is turn the FM receiver on, set the volume to a comfortable level and switch her hearing aid (or aids if she gets another one that has t-coils) to t-coil mode and she will hear you loud and clear.
The range of such FM systems is typically up to about 150 feet—depending on the surroundings—whether inside or outside, etc.
FM systems are not cheap but they are still only a fraction of the cost of new hearing aids. The good news is that they will do the job you want. We carry an excellent FM system called the Comfort Contego. You can see the Comfort Contego FM system here.
One of the nice things about this system is it works whether your mom wears hearing aids or not—she can wear earbuds/headphones if she is not wearing a hearing aid that has a t-coil. Furthermore, the Comfort Contego will work with any brand of hearing aids that have t-coils built into them. Unlike the proprietary FM systems built into some hearing aids (and which cost an arm and a leg) this system will not become obsolete as long as you purchase hearing aids with standard t-coils in them.