Hearing Loops Gives Front Row Seats

A Surge in Hearing loops Gives Hearing-Impaired front Row Seats

Mr. Einhorn wrote to the Kennedy Center after the performance to urge them to install permanent hearing loop technology. “That evening was, by far, the clearest, most enjoyable performance I’ve attended since my hearing loss,” he said. “It meant so much to me to sit in a concert hall and, for the first time in a year, actually enjoy a live performance again.”

More and more people with hearing loss across America are having the revelation Mr. Einhorn experienced. Thousands of new locations, from churches to theaters to the New York City subway system, have been looped in the two years since the American Academy of Audiology and the Hearing Loss Association of America collaborated to create the public education campaign, “Get in the Hearing Loop.” The campaign received an enormous boost from Mr. Einhorn’s experience. The New York Times featured a front-page article about hearing loops on Oct. 23, leading with Mr. Einhorn’s experience. The story was the Times’ second most emailed article for the prior month by Oct. 25. (See FastLinks.)

“Within the last six months, things have exploded with accelerating momentum,” said David Myers, a hearing-impaired professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, MI. Mr. Myers founded HearingLoop.org to help campaign for universal looping. (See FastLinks.) “The New York Times story led to other media picking up on the issue — National Geographic in their April issue and the Washington Post in [April]. Now, the biggest event of them all: two major suppliers of audio technology, Listen Technologies and Williams Sound, announced within three days of each other that they would be bringing hearing loops and training installers throughout their national network of audiovisual dealers. They both say that this is in response to growing consumer demand for the technology.” (See FastLinks.)

New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority also looped some 500 subway booths, and in April the city announced that it had awarded the contract for all its future taxicabs to Nissan. The “Taxi of Tomorrow” will be fully looped.
Article by Gina Shaw
Originally published in September 2012 in The Hearing Journal
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