Hearing loops have been in the news lately and for good reasons. When hearing aids receive the sound broadcast directly, be it from the TV or the pulpit in a church – hearing aid users’ speech recognition improves dramatically. A recent survey in the Hearing Review asked 866 people to rate the performance of their t-coil equipped hearing aids or cochlear implants using a 10-point scale. Their average response was 4.9 in a non-looped setting and 8.7 in a looped environment. In addition, Mark Ross has written extensively about the benefits of telecoils as have Doug Beck and Preben Brunved. Sergei Kochkin of the Better Hearing Institute has long advocated for increased utility of hearing aids and envisions a future with “ miniaturized universal wireless receivers in every hearing aid.” Brian Taylor mentioned looping in one of his “pillar-of-the-community” articles.
How to get your community in the loop you ask? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Read how Dr. David Myers, who uses hearing aids, brought hearing loops to his community in Holland MI.
- Read my Roadmap to a Looped Community in Audiology Today. Successful looping practices familiarize each patient with the telecoil benefits, provide a hearing loop handout, share the www.loopfinder.com app and take 5 minutes to demonstrate the hearing loop in the waiting room.
- Get your patients involved by offering the Let’s Loop America’s Worship Centers article and ask them to take a copy to their House of Worship (copies are available from loop vendors or directly from Julietee Sterkens). Encourage patients to speak up when they are unable to hear in a public venue by offering the Share-the-Gift-of-Hearing cards. Ask patients what local venues are important to them and keep a list.
- Bring hearing loops to attention of your community by presenting a “Get in the Loop” lecture to area Rotary, Sertoma clubs and church groups. Hearing Loss Association of America members will gladly help carry the hearing loop torch – find a local chapter HLAA chapter here. The American Academy of Audiology offers a free PowerPoint slide show and an informative patient handout.
- Donate a hearing loop to your local Senior Center or a community meeting room. Get creative – loop a local movie house and in return ask for free advertising. TV loops like the UniVox CLS-1 Loop Amplifer are easily installed. Large area hearing loops however, have to meet the IEC 60118-4 standard and require trained hearing loop vendors. If there is no installer in your area, you might be able to interest a local A/V contractor with this Sound & Communications article. Familiarize yourself with what is involved with a professional loop installations so that you can offer advice in the community.
- Offer patients not yet in need of amplification loop listening devices. The new WilliamsSound Pocketalker (PKT2.0) is equipped with a telecoil and an affordable solution. Be sure to check out and order a few LoopBuds once they hit the US Market. These special T-coil equipped earphones from www.OTOjOY.com will transform a smart phone into a loop listening device. This way even CIC and Lyric instrument users will be able to benefit from hearing loops!
Questions? Need a letter of support for a hearing loop in your community? Was asked a question about looping you don’t know how to answer? I am happy to help you.
Email Juliette Sterkens, AuD email@example.com
This blog post was contributed by Dr. Juliette Sterkens. She retired after 26 years in her Oshkosh, WI private audiology practice and currently is on her encore career as the Hearing Loss Association of America National Hearing Loop Advocate. Her Loop Wisonsin website offers useful information for consumers and audiologists. She received numerous awards for her hearing loop advocacy work including the Wisconsin Audiologist of the Year, Arizona School of Health Sciences 2013 Humanitarian of the Year, the American Academy of Audiology Presidential Award and the UW-Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award. Her work has led to over 500 hearing loop installations in Wisconsin and many more around the US.