Can you understand the following sentence?
There’s an onus associated with using assistive listening devices. *
This is what people who have high-frequency hearing loss (15% of the population) would hear. Try having a conversation or sitting through a sermon or lecture when most of the sentences sound like this one!
(* “There’s an onus associated with using assistive listening devices.”)
There’s a stigma associated with using assistive listening devices.
Most hearing aids and headsets scream, “I’m old! I have a disability!”
People are naturally reluctant to use what many consider a sign of weakness.
Hearing loops are inconspicuous. They interact with users’ personal hearing devices, optimizing sound for each individual’s needs.
For every person who needs mobility assistance, there are 10 who need hearing assistance—but rarely find it.
Our landscape has changed dramatically to accommodate mobility challenges, yet hearing loop systems have only just begun to appear in churches, conference centers, and other public and private venues.
Hearing loops accommodate the everyday lives of a growing population, by giving users of hearing devices the same seamless access that ramps allow users of mobility devices.
… has increased 30% in just 10 years (1 in 5 experience it).
Most of this could have been prevented just by teaching our children to protect their hearing.
Louder doesn’t equal clearer!
The louder people talk, the more speech is distorted—making it harder, not easier, to understand.
A loudspeaker’s sound distortion increases as volume, echo, and reverberation all increase.
Hearing loop systems provide sound that is always crisp and clean at a comfortable volume.
Hearing aids only correct for about half of a person’s hearing loss.
Hearing aids don’t make the wearers bionic by correcting hearing to “20/20” like eyeglasses correct vision. For example, if you can only understand 40% of the words spoken to you, then hearing aids will only increase your word recognition to 70%.
Hearing loops increase word recognition dramatically, often 90–100%.
“Changing my hearing aid batteries is too much trouble.”
Given this all-too-common complaint, how attractive is the prospect of having to find, get, wear, and then return an FM or IR assistive listening device (think hygiene) at a public event?
Loops can be accessed instantly with the push of a button on the hearing aid or on a remote.
Installing a hearing loop system in an average-size church costs about the same as an average pair of hearing aids: $4,000–$7,000.
Communication is so important that individuals spend this amount for personal devices, yet most public venues that install elevators, ramps, etc. “just can’t afford the expense” of a hearing loop . . .
Build it and they will come!
The telecoils in 70% of hearing aids and all CIs promote the popularity of hearing loops, which promote the use of telecoils. Once installed, loops are far more likely to be used—and used increasingly—than FM and IR systems.
More Features of Hearing Loops
- Use a universal frequency that any telecoil-equipped instrument can pick up. People who don’t have hearing aids or T-coils can access the system with portable receivers.
- Work well in transient situations such as ticket counters, teller windows, drive-throughs and airport gates, and so many more.
- Don’t require venues to purchase, maintain, sanitize, and replace portable receiving units like FM or IR systems, where the back end costs and hassles continue.
- Cost less per user than FM or IR because they serve as many users as can occupy the space. Hearing loops normally cost $0 after professional installation and can last decades.
More Benefits of Hearing Loops
People can hear!
- If you can’t hear, you can’t join in. It’s that simple, and yet so complex.
People remain—or become—actively engaged in everyday life!
- Positive social engagement supports both physical and cognitive functioning.
More people can hear more sounds more clearly, consistently and conveniently!
- The longer people live, the greater our need to facilitate social engagement as an aspect of positive aging.
Truths About the “Invisible Disability”
Hearing loss changes your self-identity.
How you adapt depends on your personality. Many people lose self-confidence and withdraw from social settings and engagement. Intense feelings of depression, fear, anger, grief, shame, isolation, frustration, even fatigue are common.
How will you incorporate hearing loss into who you are?
Hearing loss changes your lifestyle.
Even with hearing aids, participation and communication can be frustrating for everyone involved. Sermons, lectures, guided tours, airport and depot announcements—all become meaningless. Parties, medical appointments, drive-throughs, meetings, and conversations in general become daunting if not downright scary.
As hearing decreases, so does earning capacity.
Unemployment rates are higher for people with hearing loss than for the overall population.