Hearing Loops in Library Systems

What is the first rule of thumb in a library?  Be quiet!  Now imagine having hearing loss and attempting to communicate in a library.  Perhaps you are at the information desk and you asking where a specific book is located.   The librarian will provide detailed instructions, in a soft tone, because that’s what you do in a library – talk quietly.  Unfortunately speaking softly makes for an incredibly challenging situation for persons living with hearing loss.   In the library, a conversation in an elevated volume brings disapproving eyes and a “shhhhh!”

Hearing loops in library systems are an essential part of reducing barriers to services for library patrons.  Without hearing loops in library systems, persons living with hearing loss can find library services difficult or embarrassing to utilize.  The information desk is just one of many locations where hearing loops can help users hear better in libraries.  Library hearing loop systems should be present in a variety of forms, such as large area hearing loop systems in public meeting rooms and small area loop systems, such as counter loops at information desks.

One of the most common locations for hearing loops in a library is the community or meeting room.  Most libraries have meeting room(s) that are available to the public for use to host or engage in seminars, trainings, and even government functions, such as such as city council meetings.  Most of these rooms also have a microphone and/or audio-visual system in them, which means they are also legally required to offer hearing assistive technology to users to meet ADA regulations related to access for persons with hearing loss.  In new libraries, hearing loops are becoming the standard hearing assistive technology offered because of the high level of user-satisfaction and the ability for patrons to use the system without the librarian or library workers having to maintain and checkout additional equipment.

It is essential for librarians and library workers to assess their local library resources to make sure that hearing assistive technology is present for the community.  A counter hearing loop is a very cost-effective way to help persons with hearing loss access the basic services of the library.  If a large area hearing loop is not in the library budget now, a lower cost system such as FM or IR may be a short-term solution to ensure compliance with the ADA and make sure that all library patrons can access services, such as use of the community room.

Assist2Hear has installed hearing loops in many library systems.  In the Front Range of Colorado, these hearing loop locations include:

For more information about what it takes to install a hearing loop in your local library, give Assist2Hear a call today!  We offer the free site assessments for hearing loop systems and can also provide you with a demonstration counter loop to test at the information desk or other point of service.  Additionally, Assist2Hear also offers training resources to library staff about hearing loss and how to effectively communicate with persons with hearing loss.

 

A Night at the Movies… with Hearing Loss

I remember the early 80s, when $8 would cover my movie ticket, large popcorn and a slushy drink.  I also remember watching a movie and not struggling to hear or understand the dialogue.  I got to enjoy the movie the way it was intended to be enjoyed- through the sights, the sounds, and the magic of the theater itself.  But now I’m in my early 40s with hearing loss, and lately I am reading my movies instead of watching them while wearing uncomfortable communal headphones.  Take me back in time with you, Michael J. Fox!

 

If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry!

Take a stroll with me as I paint a light-hearted story about my night at the movies… while suffering with my hearing loss.

 

A Night at the Movies… with Hearing Loss - waiting patiently with me in endless linesI do not wear hearing aids yet, but my hearing test revealed they are in my not-so-distant future.  My hearing loss is very small compared to others, but I feel as though everything is muted.  I am constantly turning my head to hear better and reading lips for to confirm what I think I heard.  Restaurants, car rides, and church services have become increasingly difficult hearing situations.  When I learned about hearing assistive technology required in most public spaces including movie theaters, I swallowed my embarrassment and started asking for the hearing assistance.  In my community, like countless others throughout the country, hearing assistance is hard to find.  When a building does have hearing assistive technology, the staff is usually confused, and the fun begins!

 

It all started when a dear friend and I decided to watch a remake of one of my favorite movies – Jumanji (highly recommend).  My friend is very used to what he warmly calls my “hearing loss shenanigans” which means waiting patiently with me in endless lines as I debate with the terrible choices that most theaters offer the hearing loss community.

 

 


Act 1, Scene 1:

“Famous last words: There’s plenty of time before the movie starts.”

 

We arrived about 15 minutes early before our 7:30pm movie and headed straight to the guest service desk to inquire about their assistive hearing technology.  Unfortunately, the line was extra long because it was also an understaffed ticket booth.  Upon arriving at the front of the line at 7:28, the teenage assistant who couldn’t leave his post had to call his manager who was somewhere in the 20+ theater complex; I quietly imagined her in a projection room with film reels and popcorn flying through the air in chaos.

I urged my friend to find seats for us because I could tell more waiting was in the store. She arrived at the guest services desk at 7:32. After waiting several more minutes, she sweetly brought me a 2 foot tall (not kidding) close caption device and an FM receiver hanging from a lanyard with a simple foam headset.

 

She assured me the receiver batteries would last the entire movie, the receiver was programmed correctly, and the headset was clean.  But… the foam earpiece covers were dusty.  Very dusty.

 

Normally I don’t mind dust, but just then, I realized the dust on the foam headset cover was most likely due to dusty ears.  I’m sure my eyes glazed over as my mind started wondering to the wide variety of the flaky, dusty ears that used the foam headsets before me.

 

A Night at the Movies… with Hearing Loss - I finally walked into the movie theater at 7:49 for my 7:30 movieI asked the assistant how their headsets are cleaned and how often.  She assured me that they are cleaned after each use with alcohol cleaning swabs.  I said “Wonderful!  May I have one of those swabs just so that I can clean these guys once more myself?”  She gave me a nervous look and quickly went to the back room but couldn’t locate them.  She took off for her hunt in the main lobby, but didn’t return again until 7:47.  She explained that she could not locate the alcohol swabs anywhere.  Instead, she brought me a folded-up piece of paper towel, damp with cleaning spray she had found at the confession stand.  She assured me it was a “safe cleaning spray,” but I used my 40-year-old judgment and decided against it. I removed as much dust as I could from the foam headsets by hand and tried to ignore the rest.

 

I finally walked into the movie theater at 7:49 for my 7:30 movie even though I arrived early at 7:21! 7:49!!!!

 

 


Act 2, Scene 1

“Closed Captioning for the non-embarrassed.”

 

A Night at the Movies… with Hearing Loss - Closed Captioning for the non-embarrassedLet’s set the scene: The lights are off, the movie’s started, and the smell of popcorn that I didn’t have time to get is already haunting me.  My friend scored killer seats- top row center.  He patiently helped me hold my caption device, my headsets, and my lanyard with the FM receiver, all as I try to slither out of my winter coat and not bother the gentleman next to me.  I finally get comfortable and start playing with the close captioning device.

This contraption is intended to sit snugly in my cup holder with ease and flex up to be adjusted to the users preferred line of vision.  Unfortunately, it’s a bit cumbersome and takes up my valuable cup holder real estate.  As embarrassing as it was to flex the squeaky arm where I needed it to be, I was quite worried that I was ruining the experience for the guy next to me, but he was a gentleman and never complained.

 

 

 


Act 2, Scene 2

“To wear headphones or not to wear headphones. That is the question!”

 

A Night at the Movies… with Hearing Loss - To wear headphones or not to wear headphones. That is the question!With the close captioning screen just under my nose, I was ready to fight the FM receiver battle.  I was pleasantly surprised when I turned on the receiver and it was playing the correct movie!

 

Believe it or not, it is very common for FM receivers to be programmed to the wrong movie.  Whenever I realize a receiver has been programmed wrong, I debate with myself for 10 minutes about whether to get another headset, then track down a manager for another five minutes and finally get back to my movie five minutes after that. So, it is very common that mis-programmed receivers wind up sitting in my lap.

 

I ignored my dirty-headset paranoia and put on my headset with ‘kinda clean’ foam covers.  Finally, I settled in to watch the movie which had already been playing for more than 20 minutes.

 

 


Act 2, Scene 3

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

 

A night at the movies with hearing loss - What we have here is a failure to communicateI was a little confused when I started listening to the movie because one ear was programmed for the hard-of-hearing, while the other ear, which was programmed for the blind/vision-impaired, gave me a scene-by-scene narration every few seconds.

 

He gazed in the distance with a smoldering look.

He runs frantically as the rhinos give chase.

The creepy bird flies away towards the spooky mountain.

 

I let my friend listen and it was funny at first, but then it wasn’t. It became so annoying that I tilted my headset in my hair so that only my right ear would have sound and I didn’t have to hear the narration.  When I could only use one ear to hear the movie, I was still struggling.  It made me very hesitant to waste my time bothering to check out equipment that doesn’t work at all for me and very committed find a theater that actually wants me to enjoy myself.

 

At 8:07, 37 minutes after the movie had started, and 8 minutes after I finally got comfortable, I gave up the struggle and decided to take off the headset altogether, along with lanyard and receiver from my neck, and try to hear the movie without assistance.

 

 


The Final Act:

Hearing loops make entertainment accessible to all.”

 

When my hearing aid days finally arrive (most likely before I turn fabulous and 50), I would like to think my community and venues will offer access to me in public buildings by installing a hearing technology system which actually works!  Headsets and neck loops are troublesome, unreliable, and embarrassing while hearing loops let me keep my dignity through discretion.

 

I’m not exactly sure who came up with the FM or Infrared headset system, but I’m very sure that it wasn’t designed for me or anyone with hearing aids or Cochlear implants.

 

FM systems and IR systems meet ADA standards, but both systems require the use of headsets and continual maintenance and training.  I don’t mind people staring at my hearing loss, but my mother and daughter would both rather sit in silence than stick out with headphones announcing their hearing loss to the world.  Even if I could convince my sweet mother to wear the headset, she uses perfectly tuned hearing aids and must take them out of her ears (and drop them into her bottomless purse with a million pockets) if she wants to use the FM or IR headsets.  Unfortunately, even with the best headsets, without her hearing aids she can’t hear a thing!  For her, a hearing loop system is the best option for movie theaters and most large rooms.

 

The disability of hearing loss is clearly being overlooked by the entertainment industry. And it is quite disheartening to see that no expense has been spared from luxury movie theater complexes except the hearing assistance! Everything from carpeted hallways, to art-deco style lighting fixtures, and even four types of gorgeous tiles in the bathrooms, but complexes won’t even loop ONE theater? There are sometimes 20 theaters in a complex and each boasts of cutting edge sound systems, yet I have to wear dirty foam headsets that rarely work correctly?

 

Consider these demographics from the Hearing Loss Association of America:

  • About 20 percent of Americans, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.

(This statistic includes myself, my parents, two grandparents, my daughter, my two friends, and my local hearing loss association group and most of us enjoy going to movies!)

  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.

(That’s a huge number of active seniors who are struggling to find hearing friendly entertainment.)

  • Almost 15% of school-age children (ages 6-19) have some degree of hearing loss.

(How many of your movie patrons are school-aged children??)

 

Yes, the ADA compliance box can be checked off with an FM or IR system, but does it really offer access to your guests who really need it?  To me, offering headsets is like having a wheelchair ramp on the side of the building covered with gravel and bushes!  The purpose of hearing loops in movie theaters is to invite everyone to enjoy the big screen.  Hearing Loops helps your guests living with hearing loss, TO HEAR THE MOVIE and therefore come back- often!

 

There was a time when movie theaters were the heart of every city center.  With the revitalization of suburbs and urban districts, movie theaters and performing art venues are once again breathing life back into our communities.  By including hearing loops in every venue where sound is integral to the use of the space (in my opinion, every single movie theater and auditorium in the country) the entertainment industry can bring back that “Movie Magic” to thousands suffering with hearing loss. Besides, silent movies went out of style decades ago!

 

 

So, to sum up my night at the movies with hearing loss, I learned:

  • Hearing Loops are the perfect solution for movie theaters because they do not require headsets which rarely work well- with or without hearing aids!
  • Closed captioning is absolutely worth all the fuss because at least I get to READ the movie, but it won’t help me to HEAR the movie.
  • A good friend will offer to help while you struggle with hearing loss at a movie and will laugh with you through the shenanigans!

 

For more information about adding a hearing loop to theaters or performance arts theaters, please contact Assist2Hear at (877) 338-1084.

 

 

Killeen, Texas Congregation Gets a New Hearing Loop!

Maxdale Cowboy Church gets a new induction hearing loop system!Maxdale Cowboy Church – Install Announcement

 

Assist2Hear is pleased to announce the completion of another Texas induction hearing loop system at Maxdale Cowboy Church, located 16816 Wolfridge Road, Killeen, Texas.  With the installation of the hearing loop, Maxdale parishioners with hearing loss can enjoy sermons in the church, minus any echo or reverberation that might have previously made it difficult to hear due to the church’s concrete floors and high ceilings.

 

A hearing loop is a special type of sound system which helps parishioners suffering with hearing loss.  Most churches offer headsets via an FM system, which many people with hearing aids are unable to use or simply are too embarrassed to use.

 

A hearing loop also known as an induction loop, consists of copper wire typically installed under the flooring or in the ceiling by our field certified installation team.  The hearing loop is then connected to the church’s sound system to create a magnetic signal which is picked up by the copper telecoil, located inside of most hearing aids and hearing implants. The system requires no additional attachments or headsets- the user simply walks into the church and changes a setting on their hearing device and the loop delivers custom sound to the hearing aids! This amazing technology eliminates the need for headsets which often go unused in churches for a multitude of reasons.

 

Feeadback!

Since the completion of the hearing loop installation, feedback from Killeen residents that attend the church has been positive!

 

The Maxdale Cowboy Church is truly committed to meeting the needs of their congregation

said Andy Rivas, Project Manager for Assist2Hear of Dallas and Austin.

 

Interested in learning more?

If you are interested learning more about hearing loop technology such as “What is a hearing loop?” or “How does an induction loop work?”, checkout the many resources on our website, www.Assist2Hear.com.  If you are interested in learning more about installing an induction loop in your Texas church or venue, Assist2Hear’s Texas team is here to help!  Please call us today at 877-338-1084 to discuss or schedule a free on-site assessment.

Oklahoma Cityans Will Hear Better

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Source: http://www.news9.com/story/37587589/okcs-civic-center-music-hall-adds-hearind-loop

 

The OKC Civic Center Music Hall. The hearing loop system is hard wired into the auditorium and will transmit sound directly into a hearing aid or Cochlear implant with a “T” coil. When you visit the Civic Center for a musical show or concert this fall, you may be surprised by what you hear!
The OKC Civic Center Music Hall. The hearing loop system is hard wired into the auditorium and will transmit sound directly into a hearing aid or Cochlear implant with a “T” coil. When you visit the Civic Center for a musical show or concert this fall, you may be surprised by what you hear!

Oklahoma Cityans will hear better! The first hearing loop installed in the metro is located in the newly renovated Nichols Hills City Council chambers where the users of hearing devices will be able to hear all that goes on in meetings and conferences. A ribbon cutting ceremony with many ‘dignitaries’ and guests celebrated the completion of the installation.

 

The second LOOP installation in Oklahoma City has also just been completed in the OKC Civic Center Music Hall. The hearing loop system is hard wired into the auditorium and will transmit sound directly into a hearing aid or Cochlear implant with a “T” coil. When you visit the Civic Center for a musical show or concert this fall, you may be surprised by what you hear!

 

Central Oklahoma Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America is proud to be a part of the “Oklahoma City Hearing Loop Initiative.” Our member, Ana Covey and her company, Assist2Hear are responsible for these installations. COCHLAA, with Ana and Assist2Hear and are looking forward to many more installed locations to help those suffering with hearing loss. After all, it is an ADA requirement, that facilities offering public access where sound is integral to the space, must offer hearing assistance to those who need it and the hearing loop is by far, the user-preferred system.

 

Please visit with your audiologist or hearing aid specialist to make sure your hearing aid or Cochlear device is hearing loop ready by activating the telecoil (T-coil) option available in most aids.
If you know of businesses that have this kind of need, please feel free to contact COCHLAA at the Hearing Helpers Room, 405-717-9820 or visit our website, www.okchearingloss.org . You can also contact Ana at ana@Assist2Hear.com or (405)640-5152 for any questions about hearing loops.

 

Join the Hearing Loss Association and help us get our city “get in the loop.” Hearing Loss Association of America Central Oklahoma Chapter holds meetings twice a month. Second Mondays, 6:30-8PM and the third Thursdays, 1:30-3PM at Lakeside Methodist Church, 2925 NW 66th St. The meetings are open to the public, no admission charge.

 

 

This is an article by Ron Hendricks on Senior News & Living OK

 

 

Better Hearing Health in 2018!

One of the most common reactions people have when they develop hearing loss is D-E-N-I-A-L! But denying hearing loss has an impact on others as well as your own well-being.
One of the most common reactions people have when they develop hearing loss is D-E-N-I-A-L! But denying hearing loss has an impact on others as well as your own well-being.

Make a Resolution for Better Hearing in 2018!

The new year is here and Assist2Hear encourages you to make a resolution for better hearing health. Many of us know that hearing loss affects senior citizens, but it also affects every other age group including teenagers at an alarming level.

Typical signs of hearing loss

One of the most common reactions people have when they develop hearing loss is D-E-N-I-A-L! But denying hearing loss has an impact on others as well as your own well-being. If you recognize these typical signs of hearing loss in yourself or your loved ones, a simple hearing screening might be your answer to hearing better.

  • Buzzing/Ringing in ears
  • Muffled Hearing
  • Failure to respond
  • Squinting to Understand
  • Head tilting/turning to hear better
  • Listening to music/tv at high volume
  • Difficulty following conversations/ Lip Reading
  • Depression/Withdrawal

If your audiologist suggests hearing aids are in your future- Do not delay! Many people struggle with hearing loss an average of 5-7 years before finally buying hearing aids. Would you spend years with blurry vision instead of buying glasses? The dangers of postponing hearing aids are numerous.

So, consider a few reasons not to delay getting hearing aids:

Reason #1: Did you know that the longer you wait to get hearing aids, the harder it is for your brain to adjust to hearing certain sounds again? Much like glasses and bifocals, the brain must adjust to sound via hearing aids that may not have been heard in some time, such as birds chirping, appliances running, and everyday sounds that may have been unheard in recent years. This can be very frustrating to many new hearing aid wearers and takes time to adjust.

Reason #2: Hearing is a very important sense that contributes to our well-being. Not being able to hear results in many people isolating themselves from family and social interaction, which in turn affects their mental and physical health, as well as safety. Hearing loss can lead to depression, anxiety, confusion and withdrawal in all age groups including teenagers.

Reason #3: While hearing aids are not perfect and do not “cure” hearing loss any more than glasses cure vision loss, they do improve hearing in many settings and open the door to add assistive listening devices to help the hearing aids hear better in other situations like induction hearing loops. A manual t-coil setting in the hearing aid allows the wearer to enjoy sound in hearing loops.

So, what are you waiting for? A hearing assessment is typically free at most audiology offices. Hearing aids can be basic or state of the art, depending on your budget and level of hearing loss. It takes some persistence on your part to make the hearing aids comfortable to wear and get them adjusted correctly. So be patient and work with your audiologist to get it right! You will be glad you did and so will your family and friends!

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