Many businesses and public spaces have made themselves wheelchair accessible, but what about some assistance for individuals with hearing problems? In conjunction with telecoil-enabled hearing aids or implants, hearing loops clarify sounds for hearing impaired individuals, are a more affordable investment than other modifications for the disabled and will generate more visitors. If you or your loved ones find that hearing the normal activity at places you visit regularly is challenging, you can help instigate positive change.
Churches and places of worship. While many synagogues, churches and mosques already have some type of assistive hearing device, it might be outdated and inconvenient or the place you attend might not have any assistance at all. If this applies to your favorite worship space, bring it to the attention of organizational leaders and be sure to point out how it will make listening to speakers easier for their members. Outline the idea in a page of your weekly bulletin or community newsletter.
Theatres, auditoriums & sports arenas. Assembly areas are required by the Americans for Disabilities Act guidelines to be fitted with hearing amplification systems to accommodate patrons. Contact the general manager of the venue and ask for a meeting. Be prepared to explain the costs involved as well as the benefits to the patrons and to the venue. Installing a hearing loop can allow the business to tap into a new segment of the population which sometimes has limited entertainment options.
Be prepared to make your case. No matter how you choose to bring up the matter, create understanding by sharing facts, promoting awareness for the need and garnering understanding. Educate them in what a hearing loop is, how it works and how much it costs. Inform those in charge of the benefits to you and other patrons. Entice them with the increases in patronage they will gain. Even if they don’t engage in the concept the first time, be available as a resource for additional information and inquire if you can touch base with them every couple of months to continue the discussion.