Site testing, commissioning, checking and auditing are an integral part of achieving and maintaining Standard compliant loop systems that provide a genuine benefit to the hearing-impaired user.
Site testing for electromagnetic background noise and any metal used in a buildings construction should be performed prior to the specification of any induction loop system. If present both these factors will have an effect on loop design, amplifier selection and very occasionally whether or not the project is actually feasible.
All induction loops should be commissioned post installation to ensure that they comply with the IEC 60118-4 Standard for performance.
The commissioning procedure is designed to identify and rectify any faults in a system and provide the opportunity to address them. When the system is deemed to be operating to Standard the commissioning engineer should fill in and present a Certificate of Conformity to the facility owner/manager.
An induction loop is designed to be both invisible and inaudible to anyone without a hearing aid; therefore system faults can very easily go unnoticed if they are not reported by a hearing impaired user.
Many hearing impaired users may find communication too difficult to report a fault and will simply choose to leave, so it is essential that facility managers or colleagues perform regular simple checks to ensure that the system is turned on and operating properly.
Testing an induction loop system may become necessary for a range of reasons such as damage to the loop cable, ‘janitorial’ adjustments to the amplifier settings, amplifier malfunction or simply because a fault has been reported by a hearing impaired user.
Assessing if there are adequate levels of signage
System set-up and colleague/staff training and awareness of how to operate it.
Live signal ‘listening’ testing
Field strength and frequency response testing
System assessment and filling out report a report.
Induction Loop System Audits by a Hearing Aid User
A hearing aid user can certainly report basic aspects of loop performance, such as whether the system is turned on, whether there is adequate signage and whether the signal provides intelligible sound, however hearing aids cannot be used for a full audit or Standard compliance system test.
Hearing aids are tailored to the individual needs of each user; therefore precise, calibrated readings cannot be taken. It is also essential that readings are taken to indicate field strength and frequency response when testing a system, which cannot be facilitated by a hearing aid.