Nokia Wireless Loopset enhances mobile communications for T-coil equipped hearing aid users

Espoo, Finland, (PresseBox) - Nokia today announced the Nokia Wireless Loopset, an accessory designed specifically for improved mobile communications for people with hearing aids. With a T-coil equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant, this practical device can help hearing aid users enjoy premium audio quality and handsfree operation of their mobile devices and other compatible audio devices. The Loopset is expected to start shipping worldwide in the first quarter 2009, with an estimated price of less than 200 Euros, before applicable taxes or subsidies.

"The Nokia Wireless Loopset provides hearing aid users with a hassle-free and handsfree connection to their mobile phones," said Peeta Piiparinen, R&D Specialist, Nokia. "Sound is amplified more efficiently, while the distance between the phone and hearing aid means that the possibility of interference is greatly reduced. The loopset filters out background noise, which increases speech discrimination, and offers excellent audio quality in a range of environments such as the car, office, or even in windy conditions outdoors."

Compatible with handsets that use Bluetooth connectivity, the Loopset enables mobile calls to be accessed wirelessly through the hearing aid. Key features of the Nokia Wireless Loopset include a vibrating alert, user adjustable sidetone level for enhanced clarity and control of own voice, and optimized volume range and frequency response. With ease of use in mind, it comes with a comfortable neckloop and a single button for call handling.

The design and development of all Nokia loopsets has been inspired and developed by Nokia employees who are hard of hearing. Nokia introduced the first loopset, the Nokia LPS-1, more than a decade ago. Prior to this, people with hearing aids had faced difficulties in using digital mobile phones in noisy environments or due to interference picked up from the radio transmission of the phone. The Nokia LPS-1 loopset was the first product of its kind in the world, enabling people with T-coil equipped hearing aids to use a digital mobile handset.

"At Nokia, we continuously study how we can better address the needs of people with physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments, so that also they have full access to mobile technology," said Mikko Haho, key engineer behind the Nokia Wireless Loopset, who himself is hard of hearing. "My favorite story was from the early days - probably 1998 or 1999. We were at a conference demonstrating the first Nokia loopset. A lady came up who seemed a bit dubious about the device, but we hooked her up with it. Next thing we know, her eyes are tearing up as she has a conversation with her daughter. When she hung up, she told us that this was the first time she had been able to have a phone conversation with her daughter in three years. That kind of response really motivates us to continue to focus on making mobile technology accessible for all."

Nokia has a range of products and related accessories to help improve accessibility for people with disabilities. A full listing of available solutions and support can be found at www.nokiaaccessibility.com.

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