HEARING LOOP ADVOCACY
TWO HELPFUL APPS FOR LOOPED LOCATIONS
Stay in the loop wherever you go. There are now two great websites that will let you know about looped locations wherever you go.
The newest one, LOOPFINDER, is partnered by HLAA and can hone in on sites by category or location. HLAA and loop installers are partnering to make this website and app as complete and up to date as possible:
As an example, Loopfinder has 16 categories of looped locations. If you choose “Library”, it advises there are 13 looped libraries in Florida, by resizing Loopfinder’s MapQuest map to the Sarasota/Manatee area, we find two, Selby and North Sarasota. This works for audiologist offices, theatres, governments and so on—anywhere in the country.
Also, Assistive Listening Device Locater http://www.aldlocator.com/ is equally helpful.
Remember our Mission includes advocacy—a “thank you” goes a long way in reinforcing the looping of the community. Make a point to “thank” a team member at any facility where you use the loop.
Self-Advocacy—Report Loop issues
We hear that loops are not “on” or working properly from time to time. It is up to each of us to address this concern with the venue if it is encountered. If you are having difficulty with your issue with a theatre, church or other location, please contact our President, JoAnne DeVries at President@hlas.org . The Chapter will contact the loop installer if there is a technical problem
Hearing Loops Featured in The Wall Street Journal
David Myers is an HLAA advocate and a psychology professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He is the author of “A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss”. Mr. Myers is recognized as a champion of hearing loops and he recently wrote an article featured in The Wall Street Journal about his efforts to spread hearing loop technology in the United States.
The story is an excellent way to address looping to friends and businesses that are not familiar with looping. Advocates are using the article as a reference to explain looping to corporations such as Starbucks to understand its use in business.
The WSJ link is limited to subscribers so the story has been linked to the Chapter’s website and is found below in “read more”.
A Technological Godsend to Counter Hearing Loss
The ‘hearing loop’ is a remarkable advance, but all too hard to find in the U.S.
By DAVID G. MYERS
WSJ Aug. 27, 2015
The first time I clicked on my hearing aids’ telecoils, it seemed like magic. It was 1999 and my wife and I were sitting in a historic abbey on Scotland’s Isle of Iona. I had gradually become hard of hearing and had gotten my first hearing aid in my 40s, and the abbey wasn’t built with acoustics in mind. The amplified voice of the worship leader caromed off the stone walls, reverberating into a fog by the time it reached my ears.
Then my wife noticed a sign with a capital T and an outline of an ear, which indicated that the abbey was wired with a “hearing loop” that could magnetically transmit sound from the PA system to the telecoils in my hearing aids. When I flipped the switch to turn my T-coils on, the fog instantly dissipated. I could hear a crystal-clear voice speaking seemingly from the center of my head. The experience took me to the verge of tears.
Hearing loops are now ubiquitous in Britain. They’re in churches and auditoriums, at tens of thousands of ticket windows, post offices and pharmacies and in every London taxi. At spacious Westminster Abbey, with my hearing aids’ microphones turned off and my T-coils turned on, I hear better than most in the audience.
After that epiphany on Iona, I became an evangelist: Why not loop America? Theaters and other public venues in the U.S. generally offer “assistive listening” devices. But that typically requires people with hearing loss to locate, check out and wear a conspicuous headset. I recently asked my local movie multiplex in Holland, Mich., how often these headset units get used. The reply: “Once per month, per theater.”
That’s a shame. Some 48 million Americans have hearing loss in one or both ears. For my mother it was socially isolating. She quit going out, except to church, where, amid others, she heard little. I can sympathize. When I remove my hearing aids I have a near deaf experience. In the gym locker room, the banter goes nearly silent. In bed at night, my wife’s voice from the adjacent pillow is indistinct.
But unlike my mother, I am served by new ear-opening technologies. My hearing aids suppress background noise and amplify only the sounds I need. I can wirelessly transmit phone calls and stereo music to them from my smartphone. I even looped my home TV room. With a simple press of a button, muffled sound becomes clear, thanks to the wireless speakers in my ears.
The challenge for hearing loops in the U.S. is inertia—existing installations of less convenient technologies are often already in place. Adding a hearing loop which involves running a coil of wire around the circumference of the coverage areas, costs money: several thousand dollars, perhaps, for a modest-size church or auditorium.
The airport 35 miles from me in Grand Rapids, the second largest in Michigan, looped both of its concourses and 15 gates and now broadcasts boarding and delay announcements directly to hearing aids. The cost to install the system was a little more than $130,000—not a lot, in the grand scheme of things. Picking up the magnetic signal requires a $2 telecoil, which came standard on 72% of the hearing-aid models sold in the U.S. last year and all cochlear implants.
With support from the Hearing Loss Association of America, the American Academy of Audiology, and other hearing loop advocates, the technology is spreading throughout the U.S. Nearly every worship place and auditorium in my community now has one, including at Hope College, where I work. One of America’s largest hearing-loop installations is the 12,200-seat basketball arena at Michigan State University.
In New York City, subway fare booths are now looped, as are most of the new Nissan taxis and several Broadway and Lincoln Center theaters, including the Gershwin and Rodgers. In Washington, D.C., hearing loops now include the chambers of the Supreme Court and the U.S. House of Representatives. On July 29 a committee of the U.S. Access Board recommended looping individual subway and railcars, if it proves technically feasible.
All of this represents a huge step forward for people with hearing loss. A survey last year published in Hearing Review asked 866 people to rate the performance of their hearing aids or cochlear implants using a 10-point scale. The average response was 4.9 in a non-looped setting and 8.7 in a looped environment.
It’s easy to find similar stories. One person, after first turning on his telecoil for the first time, told a friend of mine that it “felt like God was talking.” Margaret Newton, the business manager of suburban Chicago’s 882-seat Marriott Theatre, reports that after installing a hearing loop, she began to receive thanks from attendees after every performance. “I cannot begin to tell you the amazing difference this has made,” she says.
With momentum now on the side of the hearing loop, I happily foresee a future my mother could not have imagined. Hearing loss need not be debilitating or isolating. As a campaign by the Hearing Loss Association of America says, “Get in the Hearing Loop.” Hear ye! Hear ye!
Mr. Myers is a psychology professor at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and the author of “A Quiet World: Living With Hearing Loss.”
Chapter Member Doug Schuler saw this sign in the gift shop at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London.
Wouldn’t it be great if every checkout point in the U.S. was looped?
We have two Publix stores (Longboat Key and Venice Commons) and a lane at Whole Foods looped here in Sarasota County—it’s a start!
If you are travelling and see the loop sign, send it to your Listen Up editor at RNW1976@aol.com
For new readers, the telecoil and looping are explained ahead:
What is a Hearing Loop?
A hearing loop is a wire that circles a room and is connected to a sound system. The loop transmits the sound electromagnetically. The electromagnetic signal is then picked up by the telecoil in the hearing aid or cochlear implant.
To use a hearing loop, you flip on the t-switch on the hearing aid or cochlear implant to activate the telecoil. Usually, no additional receiver or equipment is needed. Using a telecoil and hearing loop together is seamless, cost-effective, unobtrusive, and you don’t have to seek additional equipment. Hearing loops are also called audio-induction loops, audio loops, or loops. If your hearing aid doesn’t have a telecoil, you will need a headset plugged into a loop receiver to achieve the same effect.
Find out more at http://www.hearingloss.org/content/loop-technology
What is a Telecoil?
A telecoil in a hearing aid functions as a wireless antenna that links to the sound system and delivers customized sound to the listener. A telecoil is a small copper coil that is an option in most hearing aids and is built into cochlear implant processors. Telecoils also known as t-coils and were originally used to boost the magnetic signals from the telephone handset. The telecoil is activated by a t-switch. All landline and some cell phones are designed by law to be used with a telecoil.
The telecoil can make a noticeable difference in your life when combined with hearing assistive technology such as the hearing loop. This pairing of technology bridges the space between you and the sound source. The hearing loop connects the listener directly to the sound source while most of the background noise is eliminated.
If you are buying a hearing aid for the first time, be sure to ask that a telecoil be included. With a telecoil you can expand the functionality of your hearing aid or cochlear implant.
Local Venues with Hearing Loops
Traveling in 2015? Stay in the loop.
Click on the Loop Locator Link to find looped venues
Remember the HLAA Mission includes advocacy—and a “thank you” goes a long way in reinforcing the looping of the community
120+ Looped Venues in Sarasota and Manatee Counties – Click here for Loop Locator
Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice are the first cities in the US to have a majority of their theatres looped. Van Wezel, Player’s Theatre and the Sarasota Orchestra are all currently looped.
Let’s Loop SRQ! is our advocacy effort to get Hearing Loop Systems into local public venues to increase access for the 145,000 people in Sarasota and Manatee Counties with hearing loss. We account for 16.1% of the local population and our incidence is the highest in the nation.
This is the official sign designating a venue that has a Loop System. Note the capital white “T” in the lower right corner. This designates a system that sends the sound directly to a T-Coil, a tiny wireless receiver that the hearing aid must have to receive the sound.
HLAA Hearing Loop Campaign – Loop Resources
Auditory Listening Training – click here
HLAA Loop Campaign – click here
How Hearing Loops Work
The Hearing Loop System is the only system that sends clear, superior sound from a microphone directly into a hearing aid or cochlear implant without interference.
Hearing Loop Systems are the ideal solution for people who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants to hear better in theateres, churches, banks, restaurants and so many other public places. A hearing loop is the only system that sends the sound of a voice or instrument from a microphone directly into a hearing aid or cochlear implant for the clearest, most superior sound currently possible. Popular for over 40 years in many European cities, the system is starting to take hold in the U.S.
Hearing Loop Systems are very affordable and require no maintenance. The system simply entails an amplifier that is hooked up to an existing microphone or sound board that connects to an induction loop which is placed around the perimeter of the theatre, meeting room or area where an audience or congregation sits. The magnetic field created projects the sound directly to a T-Coil, a wireless receiver that acts a loudspeaker inside a hearing aid.
Most hearing aids come equipped with a T-Coil which is shown in the picture in the next section. If you have never used your T-Coil, see below.
How to Use Your T-Coil
It is estimated that 70% of hearing aids in use today have a T-Coil. Nearly 90% of all new hearing aids come equipped with one. The primary exceptions are the tiny aids, especially the all the way in the ear models. which do not have the space for one. A good rule of thumb to remember is overall hearing aid performance increases with the aid size.
Most T-Coils are accessible by flipping a switch on your hearing aid. In a few cases, the T-Coil is automatically engaged in the presence of a hearing loop system. In some other cases, your audiologist needs to activate your T-Coil bfore you can access it.
If you have never used your T-Coil, we recommend seeing your audiologist to confirm you have one and to learn how to engage it. If your aid doesn’t have a T-Coil, talk to your audiologist about adding one.
Once you have access to your T-Coil, we suggest coming to one of our monthly meetings where we always have a Loop System to support the speakers.
Local Venues with Hearing Loops
120+ venues have been looped in Sarasota/Manatee–click on Loop Locator Link
Great Article on T-Coils
When I Say I Want Telecoils by Gael Hannan – Click HERE