City Council Installs Hearing Loop

Norman Residents with Hearing Loss Can Now Participate with Ease in City Council Meetings

Norman City Council Chambers
Norman City Council Chambers, the location of a new hearing system.

Citizens with hearing loss in the city of Norman, Oklahoma can now hear better in city council meetings thanks to the installation of a hearing loop system!  The city of Norman chose to install the hearing loop during the recent remodel of the Norman City Council Chambers. The new hearing loop will allow citizens to hear every word of the city council meetings with ease and clarity. Attendees can bring the sound from the council person’s microphones directly to their ear using their hearing aid’s telecoil program. Assist2Hear, Inc., a leading national installer of hearing loop systems, installed the Norman City Council hearing loop.

The hearing loop covers the entirety of the Norman City Council chambers, including all public seating and the dais. This means that both the public and the members of Norman City Council can benefit from the hearing loop system.

A hearing loop system is also present now in the small meeting room located at Norman City Hall. A phased array design in both spaces allows for meeting privacy, as well as ensures a uniform sound for users.

“Privacy and seating orientation are key considerations when designing a hearing loop system,” says Erin Nichols, the head loop engineer for Assist2Hear. “In this space, privacy was important. Both spaces have considerable seating around the perimeter, which was important to consider in the design phase. Less experienced installers might have chosen to just ‘run a wire around the room’ in the smaller meeting room. This might have been easier, but it would not have met the customer’s needs, and users seated long the edge of the room would have had poor signal, in addition to a huge amount of spill leaking through the walls!”

Most citizens who use the new Norman City Hall hearing loops will simply change to the “telecoil” program on their own hearing aid to use the system. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 81% of hearing aids on the market today have a telecoil in them or a telecoil option. 100% of implants such as Cochlears contain a telecoil. If someone does not have a hearing aid or does not know if their hearing aid has a telecoil in it, hearing loop receivers and headsets are available at the information desk located just outside the city council chambers. 

Residents of the city of Norman can also enjoy hearing loops at the following locations:

  • Norman Central Library
  • St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church

Any venue looking to explore hearing loop technology can receive a free quote through Assist2Hear. To do so, a form is available on their website, www.Assist2Hear.com

What is a Hearing Loop System?

Let’s explain a Hearing Loop System:

A hearing loop system (sometimes called an induction loop) is a special type of sound system for use by people suffering from hearing loss.  T-coils inside of hearing aids, implants, and hard of hearing receivers will pick up the wireless, magnetic signal created by the hearing loop.

Below is a diagram of a simple room with a hearing loop:

How a Hearing Loop works

 

Below is a diagram of a hearing loop at a checkout counter or bank:

Magnetic field created by counter or aerial loop

 

A video by our friends at Contacta explaining hearing loops:

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How can Hearing Loop Systems help?

Hooray for hearing loops! Hearing aid users across the country are chanting, “Get in the Loop!”.  Induction hearing loops are a simple solution to an invisible problem that many hard of hearing people face daily. In simple terms, a hearing loop system consist of a wire looped around a room and plugged in to an amplifier, which is then plugged in to an audio/sound system or TV. Churches and public auditoriums are the perfect environment for hearing loop systems. There are residential loops available for home TV rooms, which can be wired or used with a seat pad that includes a hearing loop system. They plug in to the TV and the hearing aid wearer merely turns on their T-coil. Voila!  No need to turn up the volume and annoy others in the home!  Not to mention that the sound is CLEAR.

Why use a hearing loop?

  • Cuts out unwanted background noise
  • No need to use a receiver/headset
  • Sound goes directly into the hearing aid or cochlear implant
  • Anyone with a cochlear implant or compatible hearing aid can take advantage of the Hearing Loop
  • It is inconspicuous
  • Cost effective
  • Any number of users can use the system

How new is this technology?

Induction Loop systems have been in use in Europe for years and it is rare that a public area does not have a loop system. All hearing aids in Europe are required to have T-coils, which is not the case in the US. Yet.


Hearing Loop Systems average cost?

The cost of a loop in a residential setting can be $300-500. Installation costs are minimal or homeowners can even install the loop themselves. Commercial loop systems involve professional design to make sure any interference is compensated for and that the installation complies with IEC standards.  Typical costs are from $5,000 to $15,000 for most installations, depending on the size and construction of the room. However, venues such as sports arenas, airports and large theaters can run in to six figures. Certainly, having a professional installer is important since a bad installation serves no one.


Hearing Loop systems are versatile!

There are even hearing loop systems available for counter installations such as pharmacies, bank windows, ticket counters, etc., where it is important to hear clearly. A portable hearing loop system may work for some in meetings or restaurants. And the best thing about hearing loop systems? One does not need to advertise that they have a hearing loss by wearing one of the headsets provided in most public venues to hear the speaker through the FM or infrared system.

 

 

And the Next Hearing Loop Location is…the Round Rock City Council Chambers

Round Rock citizens be sure and get your telecoils activated because the Round Rock City Council Chambers, located at 221 E. Main Street in downtown Round Rock, will the newest location in Texas to install an induction hearing loop system!    In early January, the City of Round Rock Facilities team will begin pulling carpet tiles to allow for the hearing loop wiring to be ran.  The wire will then be connected to the Round Rock City Council’s audio system.    Round Rock City Council meeting attendees will be able to hear Round Rock council members’ voices as clearly as if their local representative was talking right into their ear!

Assist2Hear wants to give a sincere thank you on behalf of persons with hearing loss to the City of Round Rock, the Round Rock City Council, and the local Round Rock Sertoma Club, as each party worked together to make the hearing loop install a reality for Round Rock citizens!

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