The Hearing Loop Movement is Rapidly Accelerating
From AudiologyOnline 5/7/2012
The consumer-initiated movement to make American assistive listening directly hearing aid compatible is rapidly gaining momentum. Just during April:
- Listen Technologies announced a partnership with UK loop manufacturer Ampetronic that will bring hearing loop equipment and installation training to its national network of 1200 A-V dealers. “This is an exciting time for hearing access in the U.S.” said Ampetronic CEO Julian Pieters. “Our new partnership shows the benefits of loops are now widely accepted, with major assistive listening providers saying this is an essential solution they need to offer.”
- Williams Sound announced a partnership with German loop manufacturer Humantechnik GmbH to its A-V dealers. “With the resurgence of hearing aids fitted with telecoils and the joint efforts of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) to promote loop technology, we feel the U.S. marketplace is once again receptive to induction loop products,” stated Paul Ingebrigtsen, President of Williams Sound.
- Between September and April, 121 people attended two- to three-day hearing loop design and installation training workshops in Reno, Rochester, Atlanta, or Albuquerque. The training was offered by Hearing Loop Products, a leading hearing loop design and equipment vendor.
- New York City announced that all its future new taxis will have hearing loops, as do its 450+ subway booths (thanks to a recently completed project funded by federal stimulus monies). New York City-based hearing advocate Janice Schacter helped spark both projects as part of her effort to promote hearing loops worldwide.
- The Washington Post offered two new articles - on hearing aids and on hearing loops, with a graphic depiction of how different hearing loops designs suit different environments.
- The New York Times’ October hearing loop article quickly became the paper’s 2nd most e-mailed article of the prior 30 days. A follow-up story explored hearing loss, cognitive decline, and hearing loops (here). A recent blog follow-up examines why people do or don’t buy hearing aids, with a nod to hearing loops that increase hearing aid functionality (here). And this week’s (May 6th) New York Times Sunday Magazine offers this column on personal space hearing loops.
- The April National Geographic page on hearing loops recently arrived in some 4 million mailboxes.
- In Michigan, a third airport—the new Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Airport - has just been looped. It now offers a state-of-the-art model of accessibility through its visual displays and its hearing loops. Michigan’s 2nd largest airport, Grand Rapids, has looped both concourses, all individual gate areas, and now the outside waiting area - enabling announcements, such as delayed flight explanations, to broadcast directly via hearing aids.
- With the support of a $72,000 Shelby Foundation grant and the Sarasota Hearing Loss Association, ten Sarasota performing arts theatres have been looped.
- The Hearing Loss Association of America has invited www.hearingloop.org host, David Myers, to report on the accelerating hearing loop movement as its opening keynote address. Myers’ recently spoke to the launch of the “Let’s Loop Seattle” initiative, sponsored by the Washington Hearing Loss Association, and as a keynote talk to a national service organization (Sertoma), which is promoting hearing loops through its 540 local clubs. In November, he and Juliette Sterkens, AuD (www.LoopWisconsin.com) will present invited talks to the ASHA convention.
- Sterkens, HLAA executive director Brenda Battat, and AAA immediate past-president Patricia Kricos will present a progress report on the American hearing loop movement at the June International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH) meeting in Norway.
“The explosion of interest - evident in loop initiatives in more and more states and cities, with support from hearing professionals and now from the A-V industry—is breathtaking,” reports Myers. “I’ve never been more optimistic about the ultimate success of our collective effort to make assistive listening directly hearing aid compatible—and, by enabling hearing aids to become wireless loudspeakers, to increase consumer satisfaction.”
Thanks to Bob MacPherson