Why Install Hearing Loops???
The system that gets used.
The main reason why install hearing loops is that they are the assistive listening system that will get really used. Most people who are hard of hearing do not like to identify themselves as “handicapped”. They want to preserve their dignity and not wear goofy receivers. Some even hand off the head like a cross between a stethoscope and a dog tag. Hard of hearing persons do not want to have to even ask for a receiver. They do not like what is equivalent to “asking for permission” to hear. It is the hearing version of asking to use an accessible bathroom. Hearing loops are the only assistive listening system at this time that falls under the hearing version of “Universal Access”.
A Neckloop Experience
One time Mr. Norby was at a theater where they used infrared receivers. They said they had neckloops to plug into them. The main unit was a stethoscope-style receiver. It’s like having a clamp around the head with the ends in yours ear. Now, he wears a hearing aid. The clamp receiver can’t be worn as intended since one end of the clamp couldn’t go in the ear where it hangs from the head. He also has decent hearing on the left side so he couldn’t plug in both ears as the devices intends. The receiver had to be hung to the side around the neck with the hearing loop around the neck also. Then, a tall guy sits in front of him. The infrared sender is mounted too low and this guy is blocking the light path. Mr. Norby had to hold up the receiver making the whole juggling act very intrusive on enjoying the theater production. There wasn’t much dignity with juggling with all the hardware surrounded by all those other people.
The biggest word in assistive anything including hearing loops is “Dignity“.
People have pride. They do not want to ask. People want to be independent. This is true of everyone. This is also true of hard of hearing persons. People do not want to be needy, and people do not want to seem needy. Most people take hearing for granted. For the hard of hearing it is a right to hear, but often it is treated like a privilege given to some but so often not to them. It is the right and decent thing to do to enable hard of hearing people to hear without asking permission, without having to wear goofy-looking hardware, or wonder how clean the last person was who wore that hardware.
We did curb cuts
Once upon a time a law was passed that required curb cuts for wheel chairs and people who couldn’t step very high. There are far more people who are hard of hearing than there are people who use wheel chairs. This is not to say people in wheel chairs don’t deserve the curb cuts and not have to ask permission to use them. We are saying hard of hearing people deserve to hear wherever they go without asking permission to do so.
Yes, it’s preachy. We get emotional about hearing at HearingLoop NW.