New technology available to aid those with hearing loss

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Press release from Hearing Loss Association of America:

Dr. Juliette Sterkens

Dr. Juliette Sterkens

Q: “Looping? Whatʼs that?”
A: “Itʼs wi-fi for hearing aids!!”

Dr. Juliette Sterkens, audiologist and national advocate for hearing loop technology, makes her premier Asheville appearance at St. Eugeneʼs Roman Catholic Church, Monday evening, March 10, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Sterkens will demonstrate and explain the marvels of induction loop technology for persons suffering from hearing loss, their families, friends, and caregivers. She will also answer questions in a talk of special interest for all wearers of hearing aids and cochlear implants. Sixteen percent of North Carolinians suffer some degree of hearing loss, and that number is growing due to increased environmental noise.

WNCʼs chapter of the nonprofit Hearing Loss Association of America, located in Brevard, is the sponsor.

The induction loop, invisibly installed around a roomʼs perimeter, can bring voices from microphones directly to listenersʼ ears without loss of quality from reverberation or background noise. The “hearing loop”, as it is also known, greatly increases comprehension for those coping with hearing loss. Loop technology is particularly effective in large spaces like houses of worship, auditoriums, and theaters, while it can enhance communication in doctorsʼ reception areas, pharmacies, businesses, and even home TV rooms!

Donʼt miss this rare opportunity to learn how your organization, government office, business, or personal listening space can benefit from
installation of a simple hearing loop!

“Letʼs Loop America!” is a project of the national Hearing Loss Association of America which advocates for the 48 million hearing-impaired people in America today.

St. Eugeneʼs R.C. Church is located off Beaverdam Road (turn left at Asheville Catholic School), 72 Culvern Street. The church sanctuary is looped, and the talk will be captioned. Refreshments will be served, and there is plenty of free parking. For more information, please call: 828-545-1152.

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About the Author

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 279-0949 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

10 Comments on "New technology available to aid those with hearing loss"

  1. Janice Schacter Lintz March 5, 2014 at 8:39 am ·

    Induction or hearing loops are not new technology nor are they WiFi technology. Looping technology has been around since the 40s. It is relatively, new in the United States but has even been in this country for at least ten years. Looping technology has been in London’s taxis since 1978.

    Induction loops work on electromagnetic technology while WiFi works on radio frequency technology. These are two different technologies. WiFi technology requires a receiver to receive the signal. An induction loop simply needs a T-switch on a hearing aid/cochlear implant to receive the signal.

    People who are hard of hearing do not “suffer” from hearing loss. They have hearing loss. It is time that journalists stop using antiquated terminology that stigmatizes people from receiving the assistance they need.

    The number of people who have hearing loss is increasing not just due to environmental noise but because the population is aging and living longer. Boomers hit 65 years old last year and 30% of the population over age 65 have some form of hearing loss. People are now living well into their 90s and hence a larger percentage of people with hearing loss. One in 5 teens now has some form of hearing loss. Constant wearing of ear pieces and listening to loud music is causing hearing loss as well.

    Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

  2. Melinda Stuart March 5, 2014 at 9:08 am ·

    You are right, Janice, on all these points. I supplied some of this information to CPP on behalf of the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Assoc. of America. I was seeking popular, simple to understand, language to gain attention to induction, or hearing, loops, and to this rare talk and demonstration in our region by national expert Juliette Sterkens. I hope you will be there Monday night!

    Thanks for making the point that all one needs is a T-coil in one’s hearing aid (not all have them, sadly), or cochlear implant (most DO have them), to pick up the signal. As you know, the clarified hearing/comprehension is dramatic. Your points about other reasons for hearing loss in the general population–among younger and younger segments–is also well taken. Thanks for expanding on the subject.

    Asheville currently boasts three induction/hearing loops installed at the following: St. Eugene’s RC Church, Reuter Center/College for Seniors/UNCA, and Temple Beth Hatephila. More need to be fitted in public spaces where people can access them. Hearing loops are far and away the best solution for understanding amplified sound–”Let’s Loop America”, and “Let’s Loop WNC!”

    • Janice Schacter Lintz March 5, 2014 at 10:05 am ·

      I wish I could attend but I am based in NY. I am here to assist in anything you need. Anything that expands the conversation on induction loops is wonderful. Congratulations and I know the event will be a success.

      Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

  3. James Stowell March 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm ·

    Janice, you are correct. Wi-Fi is not induction looping. The comparison is only that it “works Like Wi-Fi” Hearing Loops act like magic, so using the Wi-Fi comparison makes sense. Transmitter and receiver, two antennas. Experiencing a hearing Loop that meets IEC 60118-4 specifications, and provide frequency responses between 100 and 5000 hertz plus or minus 3 dB is the goal. Its wonderful in fact. Not many hearing Loops meet IEC specifications and can leave the hearing impaired “not hearing”. Anyone can install coat hangers and add batteries, but meeting a IEC specification takes education, experience and skill. One should always ask for the IEC certificate at the commissioning of the hearing loop before the pay.
    Juliette, will speak about Hearing Loops that meet the IEC specification and how they double the capability of a Hearing Aid by providing the user the ability to discriminate, and understand the speaker as if they were less than 3 feet away. Hearing aids are just mechanical megaphones after 6 feet and only generate a lot of noise for the user into their ear and forces the brain to work overtime trying to map the words. Interesting enough those folks in the position to make the critical decision about installing hearing loops rarely are hearing impaired, nor have they ever sat and listened in a hearing loop, maybe Juliette will get them “in the loop”
    She knows that Wi-Fi, FM and Infrared just amplify noise like a TV, where as a Hearing Loop improves discrimination and clarifies. In addition, Juliette is well versed in the new ANSI Inspections codes and the ADA requirements and I hope she speaks on these topics as well. Its great to have someone champion for the hearing impaired as well as ADA and ANSI. Sell no Hearing Aid without a T coil. That should be a law. Lets get in the Loop.

  4. Ann Karson March 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm ·

    So glad to see Janice Lintz’s second comment in support of looping. Several of us in Asheville have become convinced that this is the best technology around from the point of view of the user (which ought to mean that, from a business perspective, it ought to be the best technology for a business or service to offer its clients or customers with hearing loss). It’s discreet (and we aren’t yet at the point where hearing gear makes a fashion statement like glasses), and, properly installed, reliable and requires little or no maintenance. I took the use of the term “wi-fi” as a metaphor, but it was nice to have Janice’s clarification of the difference in technologies. Yes, indeed, let’s loop WNC and America!

  5. Rosemary Tuite March 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm ·

    I thought I had left a comment, but I don’t see it now…I just want to thank Carolina Public Press for this wonderful article! I am a member of St. Eugene’s Church and having a loop in your House of Workship is a blessing indeed for this with hearing loss. I am a Bilateral Cochlear Implant user and have been a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America since 1996. Having Juliette Sterkens come to Ashevllle as the National Advocate of HLAA on Loops will be beneficial to all who attend. Come and learn, not only those with hearing loss but all of the Houses of Worship and Businesses, Government, Hotels, places of entertainment etc. and see just how you can help improve the quality of your service to those with Hearing Loss. We want to loop WNC!

  6. Ann Karson March 7, 2014 at 5:43 pm ·

    Very pleased to see James Stowell’s informed comment. And I couldn’t agree more that hearing aids should not be sold without t-coils or at very least the capacity to add them. The wave of vanity ads touting the smallness of an aid is a backward step, in my view. Couldn’t someone begin to produce hearing aids that are also ear-rings, that maybe some of us could begin to wear proudly for their beauty? they’d have to be large, I suppose, but many ear-rings are. Good-looking glasses must have begun something like that! But in the meantime looping bypasses all that. It is discreet for the user. And, for my money, it’s the best performer of all ALDs. The sound one hears in a loop situation is so good (provided the mic user uses that well!) that I urge people with normal hearing to give it a try, using the devices that are usually supplied for those who don’t have t-coils. On Monday night, there will, I believe, be a demonstration that will enable people with normal hearing to understand the difference the loop makes for those of us who do have that problem, or we’ll be told how to access the one Juliette has made on YouTube.

  7. Catherine John March 10, 2014 at 1:59 am ·

    Thank you Angie for sharing it. Keep writing.

  8. Sarah March 24, 2014 at 11:19 am ·

    Great spotlight on telecoil and loop technology. There is a comparison to be made between loops and wi-fi in terms of providing greater accessibility in public spaces, though the technology may not be the same. Although it is still not as common in the US, it is great to see more awareness. I found this overview of t-coil technology helpful: http://www.audicus.com/blogs/hearing-aids-blog/6071794-telecoils-hook-up-your-hearing-aids

  9. Bill Droogendyk March 25, 2014 at 11:51 pm ·

    Eagerly anticipating hearing loop “overspill” into Canada!

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