History of T-Coils—General Information
by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lot of people think that t-coils and loop systems are a relatively new
invention. I’ll bet you’ll never guess just how long t-coils have been
available in hearing aids.
If you’re like most people, you probably guessed some time in the
1970s or 1980s. If you guessed that, you’d be way off base.
The truth is, 2011 will mark the 75th anniversary of the first
t-coil-equipped hearing aid!
T-coils Have Been Around Since When?
The very first known hearing aid with a t-coil was made by
Tel-Audio of Washington, DC in
1936. This hearing aid was a vacuum-tube, table-top model that used A/C power and
thus needed to be plugged into a wall socket. The t-coil was a large
external device measuring 4½" long x 3" wide x 1¾" thick!
(Compare that with the tiny t-coils shown in the above picture.)
Tel-Audio apparently only made this one hearing aid. It couldn't have
been that successful because they went out of
business in 1938.
In 1937, Joseph Poliakoff of Great Britain received an early
patent for an induction-loop hearing assistance system.
(Incidentally, Joseph had founded the Multitone Electric Co. Ltd of
London, England in 1931.
They produced their first hearing aid, a desk-top model, in 1933.)