When you think about making public places accessible for individuals with disabilities, the obvious first image you think of are alterations for wheelchairs. But what about accessibility for people with hearing loss? Installing a hearing loop clarifies speech and other sound for patrons with telecoil compatible hearing aids, is less expensive than other modifications and may increase patronage. If you or others find that hearing the normal activity at places you visit frequently is challenging, you can help instigate change for the better.
Churches and places of worship. While many mosques, synagogues and churches already have some type of assistive hearing device, it might be difficult to use or out-of-date or the place you attend may not have one at all. In this case, you can generally take your request directly to the leadership team. Explain to them how a hearing loop operates and how much more clearly you and others would be able to hear the message. You might try to gain popular support for the idea by submitting an article to the website or newsletter of the church.
Auditoriums, theaters and other public venues. The guidelines for the Americans for Disabilities Act require that assembly areas have a method of audio amplification for their visitors and this requirement is filled with the installation of a hearing loop. Write a letter or schedule a meeting to speak with the managers of your favorite locations discussing this need and the good things that will come of their investment. Installing a hearing loop can allow the business to tap into a new segment of the population which sometimes has limited entertainment options.
Information to share. Whether you speak with the people in charge, write a letter or create a poster, it is important to share the facts to create understanding and awareness. Educate them in what a hearing loop is, how it works and how much it costs. Have a prepare list of benefits from the patron’s perspective and the venue’s perspective. Make a clear business argument that increased patronage will offset the cost of installing the hearing loop. And above all, be a friendly and helpful resource for your local community.