by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady explained,
Our Senior Center has two rooms looped: the computer room where people learn computer skills, and the “lipreading room” where a lipreading class is held. These rooms are next to each other. Each has a separate loop that was installed a few years ago.
My friend that is taking a computer class said she can hear the jokes they are telling in the lipreading class next door when she is in the computer room and has her t-coil turned on. It could be distracting. Maybe she should just enjoy hearing jokes the other computer students are missing.
Is this normal and to be expected or is something wrong with the loop setup? I was under the impression that one must be inside the loop to hear what is being said using the loop.
It is a misconception that you must be inside the loop in order to hear its signal. You can hear outside loops—typically just not as loud.
Some t-coils are just better than others at picking up loop signals—so some hear outside loops quite well and others don’t.
Although sound rapidly diminishes the farther outside the loop you are. I’ve been in looped areas where I could still hear very well when I was 12 to 15 feet outside the loop.
Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the above-mentioned loop systems themselves. It is just that the people installing them need to realize that spillover happens (unless you use very specialized and expensive loop mats), and thus not set them up in adjacent rooms, or the people sitting near the common wall will be able to hear both systems at once.
(If this ever happens to you, change your seat to as far away from the common wall as possible and likely you won’t hear the other system.)
Another point that many don’t realize is that you mustn’t loop rooms directly above or below each other either. In your example, if the two looped rooms were on different floors located directly above/below each other, both loop systems would blanket both rooms. Therefore, when installing loop systems, you need to adequately separate room loops both horizontally and vertically if you want to avoid spillover.