The majority of public places and businesses have modified their buildings for accessibility to wheelchairs, an extremely visible challenge, but may be unaware of the less obvious challenges faced by individuals who have hearing loss. Installing a hearing loop improves speech and other sound for patrons with telecoil compatible hearing aids, is much less expensive than other modifications and may increase patronage. If you’re having a difficult time hearing the sermon at church, the actors at the local theater, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis, it is possible to have a hearing loop installed with a little effort.
Places of worship. While many churches, mosques and synagogues already have some type of assistive hearing device, it might be difficult to use or out-of-date or the place you attend may not have one at all.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 typically take your request directly to the leadership team. Explain to them how a hearing loop works and how much more clearly you and others could hear the message. Introduce the idea in a newsletter or bulletin by explaining how a hearing loop works and how easy it is to install.
Theaters and gathering places. 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.
Be prepared to make your case. Whether you speak with the people in charge, write a letter or create a poster, it is important to share the facts to create awareness and understanding. You’ll probably need to start at the beginning by explaining what a hearing loop system is and how it works. You’ll want to have some ballpark figures on cost. Have a prepare list of benefits from the patron’s perspective and the venue’s perspective. Entice them with the increases in patronage they will gain. Even if they do not engage in the idea the first time, make yourself available as a resource for further information and ask if you can check in with them every few months to continue the discussion.