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Rochester, N.Y. - Local Wegmans Food Markets have begun installing induction hearing loop stations at its stores at pharmacy counters, customer service desks and designated checkout lanes to assist customers with hearing loss.

17 stores currently have these hearing assistance systems, including at least one store in each of the six states where Wegmans operates.

More stations will be added in 2016, working toward a goal of having hearing loop systems in all stores by the end of the year.

"The beauty of induction loops is that they're so unobtrusive," said Matt Sawyer, whose information technology team at Wegmans is working on the installation project. "They help those who can benefit, while others in the area are usually unaware of the hearing loop's presence. Those with hearing loss don't have to ask others to speak up because the system helps them hear speech more clearly."

Read more . . .  Wegmans Audio Loop

WHEC, Rochester, NY
Watch Captioned VIDEO FROM 04/04/2015 
By: Amanda Ciavarri



Democrat - Chronicle
Patti Singer, Staff writer
March 30,2015
Rochester , New York

Passing notes may work OK in study hall, but it really doesn't get the message across at the pharmacy counter.

"I often want to ask the pharmacist about the different medications I'm taking," said Matthew Starr of Greece, who is deaf. "When you go to a busy pharmacy and people are lined up, I have to have things be slow because it requires pencil and paper. There's no good method of communication. They write a few words. It's very limited."

What if there were an interpreter — either someone there or through a video service?

"Oh, man, definitely," he said through a video relay service interpreter. "That would be much better than trying to write notes back and forth."

Signing may replace scribbling after a regional pharmacy chain settled discrimination allegations earlier this month with New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Even though KPH Healthcare Services has little presence here, the agreement could have major implications for Rochester residents who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The attorney general alleged that KPH violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and state human rights law by failing to accommodate people who are deaf or have hearing loss. The settlement named only KPH, and the Attorney General's Office declined to comment on whether other chains were under investigation. By calling the agreement a model, the attorney general appeared to send his own message.

"I hope that it has a domino effect on pharmacies across the state," said Starr, a board member of Partners in Deaf Health, which promotes understanding of the health needs of culturally deaf people.

Read more . . . Wegmans