The Advantages of Hearing Loops in the Workplace

Hearing Loops are a must for hard of hearing employees.

Hearing Loops in the workplace are a win/win for consumers, employees and businesses!  Many employees and/or customers require hearing assistance and better hearing access.  Some businesses choose to meet ADA requirements through use of less user-friendly technology, such as FM systems.  While cheaper, an FM system is less preferred by consumers because it requires a headset which is inconvenient, indiscreet, and often times unsanitary.  A Hearing Loop syncs with a user’s hearing aid and reduces the need for maintaining and tracking headsets for the business.

Our goal is to get businesses “in the loop” about the needs of their consumers and employees with hearing loss, as well as the regulations that affect businesses related to hearing access.  In addition to increasing consumer and employee satisfaction, Hearing Loops keep businesses compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and help them avoid expensive regulatory fines.

Curious how a hearing loop works?  You’re in luck!  There’s no long version to this story: It’s a loop of wire plugged into an amplifier.  The magnetic signal broadcasts the sound (from a TV, radio, microphone or PA system) to the listeners’ t-coil hearing aids.  That’s it!  Hard of Hearing listeners without hearing aids, or those who have hearing aids without t-coils, can use headsets to receive the sound.  Hearing loops eliminate, or at the minimum, greatly reduce feedback and background noise, which results in a clearer signal from the source of the sound.  Depending on the size of the loop, there’s virtually no limit to the number of listeners who can receive the magnetic signal. There are no headphones to share.

It’s not hard to figure out how induction loops could help hard of hearing employees in an office, warehouse, manufacturing facility, retail store, entertainment venue, or service industry (e.g. restaurant, car dealership/mechanic).

EXAMPLE 1: Workers in a manufacturing plant can more clearly hear the PA system over machines’ noise levels.  This is especially important in loud work environments for safety reasons.  What if the hard of hearing employees can not hear the emergency warnings or important announcements?!  What if there is an important employee presentation which the hard of hearing employees simply can’t hear?  There is a common misconception that everyone can hear a booming voice or sound through a loud speaker system, but this just isn’t the case.

EXAMPLE 2: Employees in noisy entertainment venues, such as concert halls or auditoriums, can’t just turn up the volume on their hearing aids because it would only amplify everything- air conditioner sounds, footsteps, chatter.  With hearing loops, these same employees can simply switch on the t-coil setting in their hearing aid and receive clear sound from the speaker’s microphone.  You may believe all employees can hear the speaker or presentation, but for the hard of hearing, background noise and distance often interfere and make it impossible to understand!  Hearing Loops are imperative for on-site meetings, conferences and seminars.

EXAMPLE 3: A hearing loop installed for a hospital, bank, grocery store, or pharmacy will definitely help customers but can also be used by and assist employees.  If the receptionist, bank teller, or employee is hard of hearing behind the glass or partition, customer service can be affected.  Clear communication between your staff and customers is a must!

Hearing Loops in the workplace also creates incredible ease for employers.  Once a loop system is installed, there’s virtually no maintenance!  There’s no extra equipment to sign out, adjust or clean.  Try to compare that to other assistive listening systems which require constant and consistent maintenance and employee training.

With small meeting rooms starting at just $1,500, no workplace should be out of the loop!  Visit www.Assist2Hear.com to find out more about getting your business in the hearing loop.

Where could your company benefit most from a hearing loop in the workplace?

Hearing Loops Get Used

Hearing Loops get used while headsets simply don’t.

Hearing Loop systems get used while FM/Infrared headsets gather dust.  A rolling stone gathers no dust- but FM headsets do!  Just ask any venue that has an FM or Infrared system in place for the hard of hearing.  Hearing Loops get used while headset systems don’t. Why?

Let me count the reasons:

  1. Headsets advertise hearing loss
  2. Headsets are generally uncomfortable
  3. Batteries may not be charged
  4. Headsets often disappear into a lost closet or forget to be returned by a user
  5. Sanitary issues for many people and require cleaning maintenance by the facility
  6. Most hearing aids must be removed to use! This is an obvious problem
  7. Vanity is real. Most people do not want to wear the headsets which mess their hair or because they “feel silly wearing headsets!”
  8. Interference can be an issue for FM and Infrared systems require a direct line of sight

Once a hearing loop is installed, there is virtually no maintenance, except cleaning and battery repair for the few loop receiver headsets for those brave souls that will use them.  And those that have spent $2,500-$7,500 for a pair of hearing aids can put them to use by switching to the telecoil (“T”) setting to enjoy clear sound through the aids that are already programmed for their own hearing loss.  No fuss, no muss!  It basically doubles the functionality of hearing aids.  Many people get hearing aids when they realize they can’t understand sermons in church.  Disappointment is a common feeling when they realize that even after spending thousands on a hearing aid, they STILL can’t hear in church.  Hearing Loops can help!

Hearing loops open up a whole new audience that has not been adequately served in our country.  The number of people that can listen in the loop is unlimited where FM and Infrared systems are limited by the number of headsets available in the venue.  Hearing loops are universal so a hearing aid wearer can hear in looped venues around the world.

Both FM/Infrared and Hearing Loop Systems meet ADA standards for accessibility in public venues.  However, the new ADA standards effective 3/15/12 require that 25% of the required assistive listening headsets be hearing aid compatible.  If a venue has a hearing loop installed, this requirement does not apply.

With induction hearing loops, people bring, maintain and use their own wireless receiver (the hearing aid) – invisibly!  For more information about hearing loops, visit www.assist2hear.com.

Hearing Loop Tables for Oklahoma City

What a great night at the OKC HLAA with the Hearing Loop Table! 

OKC HLAA group trying out the HEARING LOOP TABLE at the OKC HLAA!

Our July meeting was a casual game night and was a perfect evening to demonstrate the hearing loop table made by Contacta, Inc.  The hearing loop table has a hearing loop built underneath the surface of the table with microphones in the corners.  This allows people who are hard of hearing to simply switch their hearing aids to a T-coil setting and hear each other with clarity!  Each table is handcrafted and proudly made in the USA.

Just imagine sitting at your favorite restaurant again and actually being able to hear the waiter explaining the specials or even hear your friends across the table.  It is perfect for community centers for cards or board games.  We had a blast playing Left Center Right and could actually hear each other!  One member said “This would be fantastic for Thanksgiving dinners!”

Assist2Hear is happy to introduce the hearing loop table and hearing loop technology to restaurants, assisted living centers, community centers, and churches throughout Oklahoma!  Please visit the Hearing Helpers Room to experience the loop table for yourself and to learn about other hearing loss technology for daily living.  The hearing helpers room is located in the Integris OKC- INTEGRIS Third Age Life Office, 5300 N. Independence, Ste. 210, Oklahoma City OK 73112.

If you would like more information on hearing loops or the hearing loop table please contact us today.

Please consider joining the OKC HLAA.  One of my favorite things to do is to meet other people who experience hearing loss in my own community.  It is so empowering to share information and tips about living with hearing loss.  Oklahoma City has a very strong group filled with members willing to share their own stories and help our community become more hearing friendly.  Join the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America for our annual ice cream social on August 5, 2017 from 2:00-4:00pm at Lakeside Methodist Church in OKC!  Download the invitation and invite a friend to share the scoop about hearing loss!

Assist2Hear is Looping Dallas

Get ready, Dallas!  Assist2Hear is so excited to expand to the Lone Star State and is starting by looping Dallas!  Assist2Hear is proud to provide professional hearing loops and usher in more awareness for those who suffer from hearing loss.  We are committed to helping the Midwest become more hearing accessible!

Our newest member of the Assist2Hear team is Andy Rivas who is a proud resident of Texas.  Andy Rivas is passionate about helping the hard of hearing in the community and helping companies become more accessible for those who suffer from hearing loss.  His background in architecture and design offers a knowledgeable prospective to the building community.

Assist2Hear is happy announce the Texas hearing loop initiative called “Let’s Loop Texas!” We hope to make people more aware of problems associated with hearing loss and also break the stigma of having a hearing disability.

How can you help?

• Join your local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.  Visit www.hearingloss.org for great information and support for hearing loss.

• Ask your house of worship to consider a hearing loop.  Assist2Hear is happy to offer a free quote and demonstration.

• Call your local leaders to encourage them to be more aware of the need for hearing accessibility in public buildings.

• Support working professional loops.  If you encounter a problem with a loop in your city, state or even while you are traveling, feel free to call us and we will do our best to help fix the hearing loop problem!

• Let’s change our communities!  Simply let us know where you would like to hear better- church, sports arenas, theaters, offices, banks, or even your home!

• Please download the following flyer for your church or office and help us spread awareness about hearing loops.

Contact us today to find out more about hearing loops and the Let’s Loop Texas Hearing Loop Initiative!

*protected email* • (877) 338-1084 • www.Assist2Hear.com

see: Hearing Loops Texas

 

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ADA Compliance

Assistive Listening Systems are required by ADA. The Standards require an assistive listening system in each assembly area where audible communication is integral to the use of the space.

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