New technology at library to help the hearing impaired

© A. Schaeffer/sxc
One of the major problems for the hearing impaired is to hone in on voices in environments where there is a large amount of background noise.

Air conditioners, people laughing and talking, and even fluorescent lighting are just a few examples of background noise that interferes with hearing. One of the ways to help people with hearing difficulties to make the most of public programs is to install loop technology in public venues.

The Louisville, Kentucky (USA) city website has announced that the public library’s main auditorium is now equipped with this technology, making it possible for “those with hearing loss to be full participants in the Library’s programs,” says Craig Buthod, Library Director. Louisville Mayor, Greg Fischer, congratulated the library “for taking a leadership role in offering this technology.”

Loop technology is fairly simple, easy to install, and relatively inexpensive. It involves laying copper wire under the carpet or flooring, in other words the “loop,” which is connected to an amplifier, itself linked to the sound system. The amplifier emits to the telecoil fitted to most of the hearing aids and cochlear implants sold today, thus eliminating any background noise. All the hearing impaired patrons need to do is to switch on the telecoil in their hearing aid.

Until now, this technology has been slow to take hold in the USA, but has been widely used in Europe for decades. Both the Hearing Loss Association of America and the American Academy of Audiology have been strong supporters of this technology.

Source: LouisvilleKy.gov (USA)

C. S.