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Author Topic: hearing loop popularity  (Read 870 times)

Ken Cross

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hearing loop popularity
« on: October 21, 2017, 11:08:17 am »

I've noticed people are finally understanding the need for hearing loops (T-coil compatible systems). Since 1967 telephones have been required in the US to be compatible with hearing aids, but hearing aids haven't been required to be compatible with telephones. We installed a loop system in our Church sanctuary about 3 or 4 years ago. At the time we were the only installation I could find north of Seattle. Now they are popping up all over, and I ask myself why audiologists don't seem to tell hearing aid users what this can do for them.

Do you talk with people about the need for this system? Most of us who hear normally seem to assume louder will make hearing better for those people who do use hearing aids. (That couldn't be farther from the truth.) This is an area most of us should get familiar with. We put in an Oval Window system that was only $895 (plus our volunteer labor.) Offering from only one hearing aid wearer can easily pay for it.

Ken

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Ken Cross

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2017, 09:58:41 am »

I should have included a link:

This will show how these systems work. Almost all congregations have hearing aid users.
Those who don't have "T" coils in their hearing aids can just use a receiver and headphones (around $100 each) for the same benefit.

Here are a couple links:
http://www.ampetronic.co/How-do-loops-work
http://www.ovalwindowaudio.com/satellite.html

Ken
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2017, 01:05:19 pm »

I should have included a link:

This will show how these systems work. Almost all congregations have hearing aid users.
Those who don't have "T" coils in their hearing aids can just use a receiver and headphones (around $100 each) for the same benefit.

Here are a couple links:
http://www.ampetronic.co/How-do-loops-work
http://www.ovalwindowaudio.com/satellite.html

Ken

Ken,
All ADA compliant systems have individual hearing loop capability simply by plugging an individual loop in instead of an earphone. 

Most churches that I deal with have some type of assisted listening system installed.

As far as induction loop systems go, for spaces of any significant size a single loop does not work very well because the level to listeners will vary by too much, instead there is a need to install a phased loop and that requires installation on (or maybe under, depending on construction materials) the floor every few rows. 
For most installations this is quite expensive. 

There can also be problems related to steel reinforced concrete and/or large steel beams in support structure.  Both of these cause problems to the radiated magnetic field.  All of this can and should be tested for prior to deciding on any specific loop system.

For live performance where electric guitars or other pickup-coil based musical instruments are used they can also be problematic especially when using a simple open loop rather than a phased loop. 

The main reason that I have seen for induction loop systems not being done more often throughout the U.S. is the cost when compared to an FM based system.

Lee
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 01:22:57 pm »

Ken,
All ADA compliant systems have individual hearing loop capability simply by plugging an individual loop in instead of an earphone. 

Most churches that I deal with have some type of assisted listening system installed.

As far as induction loop systems go, for spaces of any significant size a single loop does not work very well because the level to listeners will vary by too much, instead there is a need to install a phased loop and that requires installation on (or maybe under, depending on construction materials) the floor every few rows. 
For most installations this is quite expensive. 

There can also be problems related to steel reinforced concrete and/or large steel beams in support structure.  Both of these cause problems to the radiated magnetic field.  All of this can and should be tested for prior to deciding on any specific loop system.

For live performance where electric guitars or other pickup-coil based musical instruments are used they can also be problematic especially when using a simple open loop rather than a phased loop. 

The main reason that I have seen for induction loop systems not being done more often throughout the U.S. is the cost when compared to an FM based system.

Lee

We have had local audiologist offer to donate induction loop installs in a couple local theaters.  We have politely declined.  We are very happy with our FM system.  We have hearing aid compatible receivers.  Our patrons are happy.  Its good.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Ken Cross

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 02:47:53 pm »

We have had local audiologist offer to donate induction loop installs in a couple local theaters.  We have politely declined.  We are very happy with our FM system.  We have hearing aid compatible receivers.  Our patrons are happy.  Its good.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The thing I like best about loop systems is that no extra equipment is needed for those with T coils in their hearing aids.

As for dynamic interference (such as guitar pickups) just don't install the loop in their area. My experience is mostly in smaller (200 seat) churches and I have seen no problems with signal level. You are certainly right that it's important to avoid running the loop parallel to long metal objects.

As for user satisfaction, they seem to rave about the loop system, they don't feel singled out by needing extra equipment to hear, and aren't seen with headsets.
Our old RF system has many people refuse to use it because of a stigma.

Few churches in our area have the assistive listening equipment and the majority of members seem to have grey hair. I'm throwing this out to ask folks to consider helping these people.

Ken

Ken
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Daniel Levi

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 03:49:13 pm »

Weirdly in Britain it's pretty much all loop systems where assisted listening is needed. This also includes portable systems used in shops and the like.
All churches that I know of have them and the similar is to be said of theaters/cinemas.
They even do home systems which in my Gran's case meant that you could actually watch TV in the same room as her without being near deafened.   
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2017, 04:59:44 pm »

The thing I like best about loop systems is that no extra equipment is needed for those with T coils in their hearing aids.

As for dynamic interference (such as guitar pickups) just don't install the loop in their area. My experience is mostly in smaller (200 seat) churches and I have seen no problems with signal level. You are certainly right that it's important to avoid running the loop parallel to long metal objects.

As for user satisfaction, they seem to rave about the loop system, they don't feel singled out by needing extra equipment to hear, and aren't seen with headsets.
Our old RF system has many people refuse to use it because of a stigma.

Few churches in our area have the assistive listening equipment and the majority of members seem to have grey hair. I'm throwing this out to ask folks to consider helping these people.

Ken

Ken

For ADA compliance I believe that every seat must be covered so you can't choose some (public) seating areas to not cover.  An open loop, covering to the edge of the seating will effect a coil pickup onstage.

Lee
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Ken Cross

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 09:32:24 am »

The ADA (American Disabilities Act) specifically says it doesn't apply to houses of worship. So no legal requirements there. To move back from the locations of such instruments in many cases doesn't affect the plans because they only need to be 10 to 12 feet outside the loop. In our case, I've tried to see if I could induce feedback with an electric guitar and couldn't get it to feed back anywhere inside the loop.   
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 12:19:16 pm »

The ADA (American Disabilities Act) specifically says it doesn't apply to houses of worship. So no legal requirements there. 

Yes and No.  If the church never allows any outside entities (scouts, AA, school groups, etc.) to lease their facilities then they are exempt from the Public Accommodation portion of the ADA.  If they donate the use of their facility to a community organization then they are still exempt.  If they lease the facility then ADA applies.  There are many what if's for this; restaurant or fitness space within the church open to the community, etc.

To move back from the locations of such instruments in many cases doesn't affect the plans because they only need to be 10 to 12 feet outside the loop. In our case, I've tried to see if I could induce feedback with an electric guitar and couldn't get it to feed back anywhere inside the loop.

The issue is not necessarily one of feedback but of the Loop sound getting into the guitar pickup.  This will greatly depend on the guitar.  Humbucking coils will reduce or eliminate the problem but that also limits what instruments can be played.


Bottom line is that there are certainly pro's and con's of each hearing assist option. 
One of the biggest reasons to go to a loop system is the ability for individuals with a hearing aid to be able to use the loop without having to use additional equipment that may draw attention to their disability.  This does not fix the situation for those with a hearing deficit but who don't wear a hearing aid, they still need a pack with an earpiece in order to receive the loop signal.

If you also designate only one area to the loop you are back to singling out the users, much in the way that they feel singled out by having to use an ALD with a neck loop.

All of the options have some compromises.


Lee
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Ken Cross

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 01:54:50 pm »

Yes and No.  If the church never allows any outside entities (scouts, AA, school groups, etc.) to lease their facilities then they are exempt from the Public Accommodation portion of the ADA.  If they donate the use of their facility to a community organization then they are still exempt.  If they lease the facility then ADA applies.  There are many what if's for this; restaurant or fitness space within the church open to the community, etc.

The issue is not necessarily one of feedback but of the Loop sound getting into the guitar pickup.  This will greatly depend on the guitar.  Humbucking coils will reduce or eliminate the problem but that also limits what instruments can be played.


Bottom line is that there are certainly pro's and con's of each hearing assist option. 
One of the biggest reasons to go to a loop system is the ability for individuals with a hearing aid to be able to use the loop without having to use additional equipment that may draw attention to their disability.  This does not fix the situation for those with a hearing deficit but who don't wear a hearing aid, they still need a pack with an earpiece in order to receive the loop signal.

If you also designate only one area to the loop you are back to singling out the users, much in the way that they feel singled out by having to use an ALD with a neck loop.

All of the options have some compromises.


Lee

Lee, thanks for responding, all good points.

As for our installation, the listeners aren't within the recommended 10 to 12 feet separation of the guitar player.

The other really big deal: the hearing aids are tailored to individual hearing losses so using the loop system still accommodates all those adjustments the audiologist has applied to that particular appliance.  I suspect that's why the users rave about the quality of sound.

My point here isn't that a loop system is an end-all solution. It isn't. But in some areas (such as our sanctuary) it's a great improvement. I'm told in many places in Europe, loop systems are now government mandated. As I see it, for $900 (plus volunteer installation labor) if it attracts even one person to the worship facility, their donations likely paid for it in a short time.

I just think considering those who have poor hearing really is a necessity and we have had poor luck with our RF system. So I threw this out mainly to get people thinking. I do know many churches make no accommodation for hearing impaired people, with the uneducated opinion I suppose that louder will make it better.

Ken
 
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 05:38:34 pm »

Lee, thanks for responding, all good points.

As for our installation, the listeners aren't within the recommended 10 to 12 feet separation of the guitar player.

The other really big deal: the hearing aids are tailored to individual hearing losses so using the loop system still accommodates all those adjustments the audiologist has applied to that particular appliance.  I suspect that's why the users rave about the quality of sound.

My point here isn't that a loop system is an end-all solution. It isn't. But in some areas (such as our sanctuary) it's a great improvement. I'm told in many places in Europe, loop systems are now government mandated. As I see it, for $900 (plus volunteer installation labor) if it attracts even one person to the worship facility, their donations likely paid for it in a short time.

I just think considering those who have poor hearing really is a necessity and we have had poor luck with our RF system. So I threw this out mainly to get people thinking. I do know many churches make no accommodation for hearing impaired people, with the uneducated opinion I suppose that louder will make it better.

Ken

Ken,
My son has a complete hearing loss in one ear and uses a hearing aid. 
Yes, many modern hearing aids are custom programmed, somewhat, to the hearing loss of the individual wearer.  Cochlear implants often have a telecoil built in as well.  They can be utilized with an installed loop or a neck loop on an FM receiver.  They can even plug directly from a receiver.  I am quite familiar with many of the ins and outs of the various systems. 

     You had asked why they were not more popular here and a number of people answered with various reasons.  Please understand that I am not answering to argue with your reasons for choosing an installed loop but to point out issues that need to be considered by others who may be reading this now or in the future as they consider options for assisted listening systems.

     A church certainly could do as you have done if they do not have a need or want for ADA compliance.  Having volunteer help certainly keeps the cost down as well. 
Do you have receivers for your loop system for those hearing impaired persons who do not wear hearing aids?

     For spaces that require or wish to have ADA compliance a loop system is far more expensive than an FM option.  Due to the complexity of a loop system in large scale modern construction they typically require phased loop installation.
     With FM you can still provide loop capability and there are now systems that change there EQ settings based on whether they have an earpiece or a loop plugged into the receiver unit. 
   


Lee
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Ken Cross

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 08:28:38 pm »

  Having volunteer help certainly keeps the cost down as well. 
Do you have receivers for your loop system for those hearing impaired persons who do not wear hearing aids?

     For spaces that require or wish to have ADA compliance a loop system is far more expensive than an FM option.  Due to the complexity of a loop system in large scale modern construction they typically require phased loop installation.
     With FM you can still provide loop capability and there are now systems that change there EQ settings based on whether they have an earpiece or a loop plugged into the receiver unit. 
   

Lee

I wish we have more loop receivers. They have much better sound than our old RF system.  Additional loop receivers are $100 each. We already had the old Gentner RF system in place but I have to tweak each receiver every few months just to keep it on frequency, and they are touchy.

Ken
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Johan Liderud

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 06:40:48 am »

This is a nice video regards hearing assist systems.
In Sweden this is close to mandatory in churches.


https://youtu.be/WgaPxSX8S8I
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 06:54:21 am »

This is a nice video regards hearing assist systems.
In Sweden this is close to mandatory in churches.


https://youtu.be/WgaPxSX8S8I

Very misleading and stacked against RF systems. 
Both RF and Loop technology are simply means of broadcasting a signal. 

Both systems utilize equipment that is outside of the hearing aid although the presenter states that this is only true of the RF or IR systems.  In reality both offer direct personal telecoil capability which is creating a loop that is with the listener wherever they move.  It is not tied to the listener being inside a looped area. 
RF systems offer exceptional sound quality (as can loop systems) with different DSP based on whether there is a telecoil loop or an earphone connected to the unit (not true of any loop systems that I am aware of).  There is no user adjustment required for this DSP change.

Both systems require current consumption although the presenter states that there is no current consumption with a loop system/telecoil.  I am sure that he meant additional current consumption of a receiver but the slide presentation was misleading.   

The significantly higher cost of a loop system was not discussed.  The inability to provide a loop for events such as large scale concerts in temporary settings, classrooms that reorient with changing layouts per session, other gathering areas where people must move about. 

Loops are not THE answer they are AN answer.  They fit some situations well but don't work effectively in others. 

The plus here is that people are considering how to better accommodate persons with hearing loss.  It is at the same time unfortunate that the focus seems to only be on those with hearing aids while, at least in the US, at least 2/3 of persons with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.  This means that the majority of potential users of an assisted listening system still require a receiver pack and some type of earphone whether the system in use is RF, IR or Loop.

Lee
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Ken Cross

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 10:39:30 am »

Very misleading and stacked against RF systems. 
Both RF and Loop technology are simply means of broadcasting a signal. 

Both systems utilize equipment that is outside of the hearing aid although the presenter states that this is only true of the RF or IR systems.  In reality both offer direct personal telecoil capability which is creating a loop that is with the listener wherever they move.  It is not tied to the listener being inside a looped area. 
RF systems offer exceptional sound quality (as can loop systems) with different DSP based on whether there is a telecoil loop or an earphone connected to the unit (not true of any loop systems that I am aware of).  There is no user adjustment required for this DSP change.

Both systems require current consumption although the presenter states that there is no current consumption with a loop system/telecoil.  I am sure that he meant additional current consumption of a receiver but the slide presentation was misleading.   

The significantly higher cost of a loop system was not discussed.  The inability to provide a loop for events such as large scale concerts in temporary settings, classrooms that reorient with changing layouts per session, other gathering areas where people must move about. 

Loops are not THE answer they are AN answer.  They fit some situations well but don't work effectively in others. 

The plus here is that people are considering how to better accommodate persons with hearing loss.  It is at the same time unfortunate that the focus seems to only be on those with hearing aids while, at least in the US, at least 2/3 of persons with hearing loss do not use hearing aids.  This means that the majority of potential users of an assisted listening system still require a receiver pack and some type of earphone whether the system in use is RF, IR or Loop.

Lee

As you said, Lee, it depends on the venue. My real interest in this was to get people thinking. We have had great success with our loop system. Granted it doesn't help those without a t-coil equipped hearing aid. In our case, we already had an RF system for those folks. I do find it interesting how many people refuse to use the RF system. I asked one of our members if she wanted to try (the RF system) and her comment was "No, I heard those things are awful." Like most of our members, she wouldn't even try it. I think the problem is they don't want people to see them wear the headphone. There aren't many things we can do in such a case. 

One advantage of the loop system, no one needs to know you are using it. It's funny. We don't' refuse to wear a bandage if we get an injury. We wear glasses if we can't see without them, but hearing equipment seems to have a different attitude.

The best I can do is to provide the means for help and let people know it's out there. I can't figure out why anyone would come into worship unable to hear and not want to fix it.

Ken
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 10:45:14 am by Ken Cross »
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2017, 12:46:03 pm »

In our case, we already had an RF system for those folks. I do find it interesting how many people refuse to use the RF system. I asked one of our members if she wanted to try (the RF system) and her comment was "No, I heard those things are awful." Like most of our members, she wouldn't even try it. I think the problem is they don't want people to see them wear the headphone. There aren't many things we can do in such a case.

You could have saved a large amount of time and money stocking a few telecoil loops for those folks. You could have even sold a few to people who like to wear them under their clothing. Other than the vanity issue we've just addressed, I've never ever had a single person refuse to use the RF system. Most of them don't care what it is so long as it works.

Oh, and if your RF system really is "awful", then addressing that problem would have also been much cheaper and sensible in the long run.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: hearing loop popularity
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2017, 06:10:19 pm »

My real interest in this was to get people thinking.

Yes, this is often either an afterthought or simply a choice made for the cheapest possible solution that fulfills the ADA mandate.


I do find it interesting how many people refuse to use the RF system. I asked one of our members if she wanted to try (the RF system) and her comment was "No, I heard those things are awful." Like most of our members, she wouldn't even try it. I think the problem is they don't want people to see them wear the headphone. There aren't many things we can do in such a case. 

One advantage of the loop system, no one needs to know you are using it. It's funny. We don't' refuse to wear a bandage if we get an injury. We wear glasses if we can't see without them, but hearing equipment seems to have a different attitude.

The best I can do is to provide the means for help and let people know it's out there. I can't figure out why anyone would come into worship unable to hear and not want to fix it.

Ken

This is the more typical situation. 
First, an RF system does not need to sound bad.  Older systems without DSP and that tune with coils that drift are certainly problematic.  That is not necessary any longer. 

As far as being seen wearing a receiver or "no one needs to know you are using it". A receiver is necessary with either an FM or a Loop system if the person does not have a telecoil equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant.  About 66% of the people in the U.S. with hearing loss that affects their ability to understand speech do not have or use hearing aids.  For these people they must wear a receiver in order to use any ALD system. 
Education of those with hearing loss is a must in order to get this to happen. 

One significant problem has been how poor some of the systems are.  Most of the time this has to do with the source itself and the ratio of ambient sound to direct sound.  If systems sounded better to begin with then more people would use them.  This often means creating a specific mix for the ALD system and most venues with live sound do not have the budget to warrant that. 

There's a bit of catch 22 involved.

I am hoping that creative use of some newer technology will allow for some automixing of stage areas for ALD systems and increase the sound quality for all users.

Lee
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