When you consider making public spaces accessible for individuals with disabilities, the obvious first thing you think of are modifications for wheelchairs. But what about accessibility for the hearing impaired? In conjunction with telecoil hearing aids or cochlear implants, hearing loops clarify sounds for hearing challenged individuals, are a less expensive investment than other disability modifications and may bring in more patronage. Oftentimes the owners of the venue simplyaren’t aware of how much a hearing loop can help. With a little bit of time and effort you might be able to get them to install one.

Churches and other places of worship. While many places of worship are fitted with amplification equipment, many are not compatible or inconvenient and there are many places without them at all. If this is the case, let the congregation and worship leaders know of the benefits of a hearing loop, such as using a telecoil to hear the speakers clearly through your own hearing aid or implant. Outline the idea in a page of your weekly bulletin or community newsletter.

Theatres and gathering places. In the United States, it is a legal requirement for pubic assembly spaces to have audio amplification. A hearing loop is an easy way for a venue to comply with this law. 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. For example, these places will see an increase in attendance because people with hearing challenges will be able to participate.

Information you’ll need. Whether you speak with the people in charge, write a letter or create a poster, it is important to share the facts to create awareness and understanding. Define hearing loop, its function and costs. Explain the necessity and convenience of hearing loops for you and others. Explain to them the benefits of their increased business. Even if they do not engage in the concept the first time, be available as a resource for further information and inquire if you can check in with them every couple of months to continue the conversation.

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