Hearing loops are
commonplace in Europe. In England, everywhere from Westminster Abbey
to public transportation ticket windows are looped.
The U.S. has been
slower to embrace hearing loops because, until recently, many hearing
aids were not equipped with telecoils. According to the American Academy of Audiology,
today almost 70% of all hearing aids dispensed in the U.S. have telecoils, and that number is
on the rise. As a result, there is increasing interest in hearing loops.
Proponents such as
David G. Myers, PhD, a hearing-impaired professor of psychology at
Hope College in Michigan, the Hearing Loss Association of America, and the American Academy
of Audiology are leading the charge to loop more public spaces in the U.S.
Hearing loops are increasingly being embraced as a way to help hearing impaired people
enjoy clear sound in:
- Theaters and performing arts centers
- Places of worship
- High school and college auditoriums
- Court rooms and government chambers
- Board rooms and large meeting rooms
- Banquet and sports facilities
- Ticket counters and information booths
- Doctors’ offices and pharmacy counters
- Drive thru and pick up windows
- Elevators, trains and buses
- Museum exhibits
In the Southeast,
hearing loops are being installed in retirement communities, places of
worship and auditoriums. The public sector has been a bit slower to embrace the technology
than in other parts of the country, but change is coming.