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.
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:
- Douglas County Library system (Parker, Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock, and Castle Pines, CO)
- Old Towne Library (Fort Collins, CO)
- Pikes Peak 21C Library (Colorado Springs, CO)
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.
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
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!