It would take us a long time to list the comprehensive regulations that have emerged over the past two decades in relation to building and planning to assist deaf people, but needless to say, incorporating systems for the comfort of those with hearing problems has become as much a legal necessity as a social responsibility.

As stage and studio installation specialists, ensuring spaces are optimised for deaf and hard of hearing people through sophisticated audio-visual systems is something we constantly bear in mind. University lecture theatres, conference spaces and even church sound systems are now going beyond crystal clear sound systems and well thought out acoustics to install systems for those who need a little more help to hear presentations clearly.

Of course restricting services and venues for those with hearing problems is wholly unacceptable and reflects poorly on even some of the oldest and difficult to modify buildings. Installing an induction loop system doesn’t have to be a complicated and disruptive process however, and whether you’re looking to update an old space or adhere to current regulations in a new build, we thought we’d highlight how the systems can work in a variety of venues.

What is an Induction Loop?

Induction Loops, or Hearing Loops essentially work by creating a magnetic field that can be picked up by a hearing aid to make sounds clearer to wearers. This magnetic field is generated by a loop of cable which is installed in a room and induction loops can also be used for metal detectors as well as aids for the hard of hearing. You may have seen the induction loop signal (see image above) with a ‘T’ next to the image, this is to tell the wearer to switch their hearing aids to the ‘telecoil’ function. This was initially installed in hearing aids to make phone calls clearer.

Can they be installed in difficult venues?

Installing an Induction loop in Grade 2 listed buildings (which usually require permission to be sought before any changes can be made) can pose a slight challenge, but generally an induction loop can be fitted with the most minimal of alterations. You may have seen the induction loop signal at cashiers desks and reception counters, these are localised field induction loops which usually cover around a 1 metre area. Perimeter induction loops are usually used in venues where a whole room needs to be covered however and this will mean the loop cable has to be fitted around the perimeter of the room. Obviously this will create more need for modification, but as mentioned, it can still be fitted sensitively and without impacting on period features.

Are they only restricted to one room?

Loops can be made portable which is incredibly useful when purchasing at ticket offices or any other venue in which it may ordinarily be difficult for hard of hearing people to listen and communicate. Ideally each space that may be inhabited by a person with a hearing impediment will have a permanent induction loop, but in some instances, for example if a teacher takes a school class on a field trip, a portable system will be necessary.

We hope that’s explained induction loops in a little more detail and helped you see how easily a system can be installed in your venue. If you’d like more information on creating a theatre, conference room or any other venue with an in-built induction loop, then please get in touch with our friendly and experienced teams at PG Stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.