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Aug 15, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now

It’s important to hear the words when you are in church, but sometimes, that is exactly the place where it is most difficult for some people to hear and understand what is said. But hearing loops present a 21st century solution.


You probably know someone with hearing loss, people who may or may not wear a hearing aid, who have a little or significant hearing loss. There are many people who are unable to hear what is being said. For some in the generation born during the years of WWII there was often no hearing protection mandated on the job; Baby boomers and subsequent generations have issues because of aging, loud music and noisy restaurants.


While hearing loops are ubiquitous in British churches, the copper wire system that encircles a room and connects to a sound source (such as a microphone or speaker) is not available in many U.S. churches. With a hearing loop, hearing aids serve as wireless loudspeakers, delivering clear sound from inside the ear. Refinements of "induction loop" systems--which magnetically transmit sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants with telecoils (T-coils) have made the technology readily available.


Christ Church Cathedral has installed a hearing loop system to the delight of their parishioners with hearing loss. The Cathedral’s system was funded almost entirely by interested individuals.


An audio-visual contractor is recommended to estimate individual church’s costs, depending on the size of the room. Improved hearing allows all parishioners to hear the Gospel read and the sermon delivered, the anthems sung and the peace shared, to participate fully in worship. In the words of a telecom commercial of several years ago, “Can you hear me now?” Our answer from the pews should be an unqualified “Yes!”


Contributors to this article: The Rev. Canon John A. Logan, Jr., Bette Ann Stead and C. Eugene Carlton, MD.