Loop the loopset

I promised to say more about my new loopset once I had used it for a while. I also mentioned making a mess of taking my first phone call with it.

That happened when I went to Harrow to meet Tigger. She came out of work early and called me. My phone started to ring and as I had set it to auto-reply I let it ring, concentrating on switching my hearing aids to the ‘t’ setting. The phone just rang and rang, so I tried pressing the button on the loopset, to no avail. I lost the call. We spent the next few minutes trying to call one another and therefore getting engaged tones. In the end Tigger got through and we arranged where to meet.

I realized that the phone had not picked up the call because the loopset jack had somehow been pulled half out of the phone, nullifying its effects. That is something to watch if you use a Nokia phone that has an edge-connector rather than a standard one-pin jack: these connectors come out all too easily.

I decided that the easiest way to set things up was to put the phone in a pouch on my belt with the loopset around my neck, under my pullover, plugged into the phone. That seemed a good arrangement until I realized I was losing calls. This was because in noisy situations – out in the street, at railway stations, etc. – I simply didn’t hear the phone ring even though the ringer was on the loudest setting.

Missing calls was inconvenient but it was also potentially embarrassing. Because my phone was on auto-reply, it would pick up the call, even when I was unaware there was a call. The caller could then eavesdrop on my conversations! Tigger called me at Euston Station, for example, while I was buying coffee and heard me quite clearly order the coffee, say “No sugar, thanks”, etc. As you can imagine, I have now switched off auto-reply.

Unfortunately, the Nokia 9300 Communicator, despite being a brilliant phone in every other respect, doesn’t have a vibrate mode. Having had vibrating phones in the past, I really miss this feature. I decided to hang the pouch on a strap around my neck so that the phone is now against my chest. I hope that as it is nearer my ears, I am more likely to hear it ring. At the time of writing, no one has called me so I can’t say whether it works!

I have, however, made and received calls using the loopset, and I find it performs well. In noisy conditions, I really appreciate hearing the phone through both ears. You set the loudness of the sound by twiddling the sound level control on your phone.

The quality of the sound is good but it is different from using the phone directly. I would say the sound is very slightly distorted, though this doesn’t interfere with my understanding the other person. I don’t know whether I sound different too. I must remember to ask.

Should you buy a loopset? We are all different and what suits one person doesn’t necessarily suit another. If you wear hearing aids and have trouble using your mobile, and if the hearing aids have a setting for use with Telecoil (the ‘t’ setting), then a plug-in loopset is worth considering. I am very pleased with mine.

How you use it

Check that your mobile can be used with a loopset. Generally speaking, if it can be used with an ordinary wired hands-free, it will work with this device – assuming there is one for your phone model. You will need to check that also.

You place the loop around your neck (it can go under your top garment, if you wish) and plug the end into your phone’s hands-free slot.

To receive a call, switch your hearing aid(s) to the ‘t’ setting, then press the button on the microphone/control unit to pick up the call. Listen through your hearing aids and speak into the loopset’s microphone. To hang up, press the button on the loopset microphone/control unit.

To make a call, switch your hearing aid(s) to the ‘t’ setting, and dial the required number on your phone. Then put the phone away. (The loopset handbook cautions against speaking into the phone because this could interfere with the loopset.) When the call is connected, you will hear it through your hearing aids. Speak into the loopset’s microphone and press the button on the loopset’s microphone/control unit to terminate the call.

Don’t forget to switch your hearing aid(s) back to the normal setting after terminating the call because on the ‘t’ setting, environmental sounds are not transmitted.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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