T-Coil vs. BlueTooth

I have recently started investigating hearing aids and was assuming that the T-coil system was by now pretty standard; our church and many of the other places I go are already equipped with a loop.

But now I am reading that the T-coil system is “outdated” or even “obsolete.” The one audiologist with whom I have had some conversation but not yet an actual test (at Costco) tells me that the ReSound Future (and its “cousin” the Alera) do not even offer a T-coil option but do have BlueTooth.

I am assuming that it would be reasonably simple and not unduly expensive for churches and other facilities to add a BlueTooth transmitter to an existing sound system, but it is going to take time. What do HA users do in the meantime? Buy hearing aids that are no longer “state of the art” but still incorporate the “obsolete” technology?

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Actually, some models of the Alera do include a telecoil. Their RIC model does not, but their traditional BTE model and most of their custom (in the ear) models do include one.
In fact, I’d say most major manufacturers still include telecoils in many of their current models. The exception to this is their smallest instruments and this is more an issue of just not being able to fit a telecoil inside the case along with everything else.

Costco generally sells rebranded versions of hearing aids released by major manufacturers. In some cases these are based on models that are a few years old. This can represent a good value for some people, but often isn’t representative of “state of the art.”

From reading other messages here I have the impression that (a) the Alera is only a few months old, and that (b) the Future differs from the Alera only cosmetically.

In the meantime, however, I have heard from a HA user who is a great advocate of the loop system that ReSound’s BlueTooth system works only if all users in a particular facility are using Resound HAs. He also drew my attention to the following paper comparing loop and BlueTooth (written by an AuD). I am not allowed to post the link here, but Google for “remensnyder bluetooth” (without the quote marks).

Hi Z300M, far from being outdated there are some excellent telecoil/loop devices out there! My employer is just about to splash out around £4k on some environmental aids to help me do my job, 3 of which cannot work without a loop! There are many devices that incorporate both bluetooth and telecoil combined, plus others that use telecoil and FM Radio combined… perhaps, telecoil advances at the same pace as bluetooth?

Suffice to say, some of the Alera’s do have a loop, I have a set of BTE’s on trial at present and I would not even consider a hearing aid that does not have the telecoil feature!

Cheers Kev:D

I too, would not consider an aid without a t-coil. I recently had to upgrade to the Ambra MicroP to get the t-coil as standard. Makes me mad that Phonak doesn’t have more respect for the t-coil and include it in their other products. I can tell you first hand that the t-coil on the ambra sounds wonderful. Plus the t-coil doesn’t waste any power like Bluetooth does…Loop sound quality is amazing…As an alternative, you can buy a loop receiver and plug it into the I-com in a looped room. The cost around $100. You can also use the receiver with regular headphones or earbuds and both have wonderful sound. If there is a big sin with audiologists in the U.S., it’s their lack of support for Tcoils. LET"S LOOP AMERICA!!!

It does seem that the report that the T-coil system is on its deathbed has been greatly exaggerated. I first encountered the claim in the Consumer Reports piece in 2009, which said something to the effect that the presence or absence of a T-Coil wasn’t a major issue as this was “old technology” that was being replaced by BlueTooth. I read that issue in the library, so I don’t know whether anyone wrote to dispute the claim.

Yet the propaganda for a local hearing-aid center and highlighting the Oticon Agil that came as a full-sheet (4-page) insert in today’s paper said that some (only “some”) models are available with a T-coil.

Same here. While high quality wireless headphones work well for TV, The T-coil is better.

I haven’t tried Bluetooth, but I would think it should work as good as the T-coil.

Interesting discussion. I have the T-Coil in my Ambras, but I rarely use it because most modern offices are loaded with computers, fluorescent lights and other electronic gadgets all of which cause a “buzz” in the telecoils.

It’s the rare location where I don’t pick up electrical interference.

When the Phonak rep came to tweak my aids, she told me that computer and electronic rich offices (not to mention florescents) are the problem, and there wasn’t anything she could do to tweak the buzz out…

Does anyone else have this problem???

My take is that the main reason the T-coil never took off, and might now be on its deathbed, is because (as a general rule) audiologists have never pushed them. Every time I wanted to add it into an aid over the years I was told (by different audis) that I didn’t want it as it would just add to the expense. It was always a fight to get a T-coil in one, let alone both.

Having said that, to go further and say that a T-coil comes close to the quality and performance of Bluetooth is just not honest. Just as Sparafucile stated, in the modern world of today T-coils are almost impossible to use in most offices and even in cars (my car’s computer can be heard louder than my cell phone when my phone is right next to the aid! Fluorescent lights, phone poles, grocery store electric doors, etc, etc, etc all wreak havoc when trying to use T-coils.

Recently I purchased a set of Alera 9s (with wireless & Bluetooth capabilities) and to be honest, was very skeptical about getting aids without a T-coil! When I purchased the aids the newer Alera T-coil models weren’t available. However, in retrospect, that was probably a good thing because I would have purchased a T-coil equipped older style (non-RIE) much larger BTE aid and, as it turned out, almost never (I’m trying to be generous) use the T-coil! The quality of the wireless link, the ability to understand what is being said because the signal to noise ratio is a million times better than the T-coil, and the ability to use it just about anywhere regardless of which electrical accessories are in use around me means that, for me, there’s not even a decision to be made. As stated, I’m someone who grew up with, and fought for, T-coils my whole life, but if I’m forced to choose between wireless or a T-coil, for me there is no decision to be made! Wireless will win hands down every time!

Lastly, in an attempt to present this as honestly as possible, it’s only fair to admit that wireless aids are not perfect and do have their own drawbacks. For instance, they (1) increase the cost significantly, (2) eat up batteries like they are going out of style (if the streamers are used often), and (3) are indeed 2.4Ghz transmitters/receivers placed directly against your head.

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Sparafucile and Battery Ears:

It would never have occurred to me to use T-coils in the car, office or supermarket. I had envisaged them as being appropriate only for houses of worship, concert halls, auditoria and other spaces of that kind.


That’s probably because you can use a phone without hearing aids, unlike some of us. :eek: :smiley: :wink:

Until recently telephones have always caused a rather large amount of feedback when put next to hearing aids. Even now with better feedback management, IMHO, the T-coil is a better choice over an acoustic phone program (assuming the aid even has one) when using a telephone (and Bluetooth even better).

I agree that the other places you mentioned are good uses as well, but the original design of the T-coil (or telicoil, Teleswitch, etc) was specifically for telephones. Since people often talk on the phone at their places of business and in their cars it becomes an important consideration.

Also, you can almost always use a wireless streamer in all of the places you mentioned to get a better cleaner signal! For instance, I use mine Sundays at church. Also, recently I was at a comedy show performance (friends bday party) and used the streamer to understand what the comedians were saying while on stage talking into their microphone.

I can say without fear or favour, I have never had a problem with telecoil in a busy office environment, no trouble with PC’s or lights! Methinks, your Audi is swinging the lead…

As for a car, then thats a different kettle of fish as some cars are fine, but others i’e, SAAB’s… of which I’ve had a few are absolutely terrible for interference!

Can’t say I’ve ever noticed bluetooth or for that matter infrared to be better than a good quality loop? The exact oposite would be my opinion! But then again tis exspensive for a high end loop system, the portable one I’m getting will cost around £1.5K = $2400…Not the cheapest or most exspensive, but excellent quality!

For any of you guys and girls, looking for a cell phone loop, that hooks up to a bluetooth mobile, look no further than the link below, the Noizfree Beetle H2 is an excellent piece of kit and fairly cheap at the price… You can also hook up to a PC via a BT doggle or use the direct input for your MP3:D


Well, the beauty of the t-coil is it’s simplicity. Imagine being able to walk into an auditorium without any other piece of equipment, and be able to hear everything right into your ears with a simple push of a button on your hearing aid. This is what it’s like in Europe and in Western Michigan. With bluetooth, and I’ve done it, you have to check out a receiver and then plug it into your I-Com or streamer. Then the sound will be sent to your hearing aids. You then will be dependent on three sets of batteries. If any one of them dies, you’re out of luck. I hate having to bring so many things along with me, batteries, cables, etc., it’s annoying to say the least. I’ve been at the airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it is entirely looped. I can go up to the counter, the agent speaks into the microphone and I just push a button to hear beautifully. I can imagine easily what it would be like to fumble with my I-Com and FM transmitter. Bluetooth may rule personal listening, but if you want to enjoy public places, nothing can replace the T-coil. The Audiologists in the U.S. dont have a clue about T-coils and they should be ashamed. Many groups are working to change this and I believe we are making progress. Another point about bluetooth, I hate the priority that the devices have…very confusing. The phone has top priority, then maybe the laptop, then maybe the TV…all can be interrupted if they are on. Not a smooth and easy technology.

I understand the advantage of the simplicity of a loop but what is the point of having t-coils in your HA’s if the buildings that you go to don’t have loops.

I would like to know what the “standard” is in North America so that I can equip myself for it. Is it FM, IR or loop? I suspect that it can be any of them depending on the venue.


I made a home loop system for less than 50.00. I used the amplifier from an old pair of computer speakers.:smiley: While it works better than high quality FM headphones for TV programs, it falls flat when listening to music. No doubt a higher quality amplifier and pre-amp would work much better. Yet another project to have fun with.:wink:


kevels555: I wish I could say the same thing about the office environment! In some offices I’ve had bigger problems than in cars.

CryMeARiver: I agree completely that simplicity is what the T-coil has got going for it! No question that that’s it’s main advantage! As for the Bluetooth priority I agree with you. Once VERY nice thing about the Resound Alera line is that it only uses Bluetooth with the Phone Clip, all other streaming is done over a 2.4 Ghz NON-Bluetooth wireless link which can be controlled by the aid (and also the remote control if it’s purchased). Pretty slick solution! BTW, I’m in FULL support of your group (or any other) trying to make strides in getting loops and T-coils in use much more than they currently are (which is almost nonexistent for all practical purposes) in the U.S.

Gilbert: I think the problem is that there is no standard here in the U.S. At least I can’t find one! Everywhere is different and audiologists here (as a general rule) discourage T-coil inclusion when purchasing an aid (at least that’s been my experience with a handful of different audiologists).


  1. Telecoils/loops should by law be in every public building. People can that access it easily without question.

  2. The quality in general is good with both loop and BT assuming one has a correct setup, minimal interference and correct distance. BT mostly has a maximum reach of 10 meters.

  3. Bluetooth is best for cellphones. The T-products I know does not give the same quality in sound.

  4. A permanent loop runs on net power, no charging needed. Every bluetooth device has a battery with a relatively short life expectancy. A friend of mine actually working for Phonak using iCom changes battery every 6 months.

  5. One loop can give sound to many with different aids, BT has s a strictly one-to-one protocol.

  6. BT devices are portable, a Phonak TV-link or a Oticon Connect Line TV-box can be brought on longer trips and easily connected to any TV or radio.

In short, both has its uses. In general audis should fit aids with telecoils. That would send a correct message to the manufacturers.

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Something to keep in mind about the Resound wireless solution in the Aleras is that its streamer is NOT Bluetooth and thus not subject to all of the Bluetooth problems! In other words, you can easily exceed 10 meters, can run it off a 110V outlet, and can have more than one person connected to it at a time. I don’t know if anyone else implementing this type of solution, but it’s really brilliant.

I think its a real shame that they dont agree of some standard. Its difficult to argument for a solution that only helps the few. Maybe in the future it can be possible to agree about some kind of universal standard replacing T*.

I heard just yesterday from a Phonak rep. (who was one of the guest presenters at an event put on by one of the local audiology practices – in Western Michigan) that this area and a small area of Wisconsin are the most “looped” parts of the USA. So if loops are not common in other parts, it’s understandable that people may look to BlueTooth and not care about T-coils. The Phonak rep. said that one of the first questions he asks about any new model is: “Does it have a T-coil?” and he lamented that some of their recent very small ones do not.