Getting the Hearing Impaired “in the loop”

Are you or do you know of individuals who struggle to hear what is being spoken in houses of worship and in movie theaters?  If so, you will be interested to learn of an exciting new development to help the hearing impaired!  Over the past two years, churches have been leading the way to enhance hearing aid functionality for people with hearing loss.

Hearing Loop technology takes a feed from the PA system and then transmits the sound through a wire loop that surrounds hearing-impaired listeners.  The loop accomplishes this by projecting a magnetic signal through a “telecoil” receiver, an inexpensive device that is found in 60% of new hearing aids.

This looks to be a very exciting and welcomed change for those experiencing the frustration of not being able to comprehend spoken words; words that are understood and appreciated by others around them.

The benefits of this innovative technology, as stated in a recent New York Times article:

A hearing loop, typically installed on the floor around the periphery of a room, is a thin strand of copper wire radiating electromagnetic signals that can be picked up by a tiny receiver already built into most hearing aids and cochlear implants. When the receiver is turned on, the hearing aid receives only the sounds coming directly from a microphone, not the background cacophony.

“It’s the equivalent of a wheelchair ramp for people who used to be socially isolated because of their hearing loss,” said David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich., who is hard of hearing. “I used to detest my hearing aids, but now that they serve this second purpose, I love the way they’ve enriched my life.”

After his first encounter with a hearing loop at an abbey in Scotland, where he was shocked to suddenly be able to understand every word of a service, Dr. Myers installed a loop in his own home and successfully campaigned to have loops installed at hundreds of places in Michigan, including the Grand Rapids airport and the basketball arena at Michigan State University.

“One of the beauties of this simple technology is that it serves me everywhere from my office to my home TV room to nearly all the worship places and public auditoriums of my community,” Dr. Myers said.

Source: nytimes.com

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