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Author Topic: Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service  (Read 521 times)

Jon-Philippe Ruhumuliza

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Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service
« on: March 31, 2019, 01:04:42 pm »

Hello,

I am doing sound at a church here in ATL. For the past few months I have been dialing in the system and have a very good sound (no feedback, clear and accurate voices, processing etc. on point). I am sitting in the space an hour before service. Mics are tested and everything is fine... Until service starts. Then I hear a high mid steady feedback loop in the room (around 2k but probably had some upper range harmonics). I figured out quickly it was not the system (after strategically muting the mains and even listening assists when there were gaps in the service. I made sure to do all of this while I heard a hum so I could hear if any change occurred). So I got the house systems guru for the church and asked if it was a damper on our Air Control (the things a beast). We walked the space where the sound was coming from and NOTHING!! Not a 60Hz tone so we could rule out electrical rather quickly. The only thing left was the organ. When service was over, I checked to make sure organ was still on, but by then the sound had gone away...

So... All of this backstory to say that I think it was someone's hearing aids up in the balcony which when in feedback was projected out into the space (Loud upstairs but quiet underneath the balcony).

Question... 1) How have you dealt with tracking down the dear mother or father with a malfunctioning hearing aid during service and 2) What has your team done to inform the congregation about this?

This is the first time I have ever had this problem in over 15 years of doing this thing, but now realize this is actually a thing and am scratching my head on how to logistically (and softly) address this problem (which seems to occur somewhat regularly although I have only heard this today).

Thanks all!
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2019, 09:34:16 am »

This is the first time I have ever had this problem in over 15 years of doing this thing, but now realize this is actually a thing and am scratching my head on how to logistically (and softly) address this problem (which seems to occur somewhat regularly although I have only heard this today).

First, this is a contradictory statement.  If itís only happened to you once in 15 years itís not happening somewhat regularly.

That aside, this isnít your problem to fix.  Youíre falling into the same thing that well meaning church audio people often do.  As a high functioning person who understands things that most people don't youíre trying to fix everything.  Youíve demonstrated that itís not a fault in the audio system and have gone an extra distance to check HVAC.

Let your ushers address this.  Iím assuming that theyíd handle a person talking disruptively loudly during a service too.  This is no different.  Just because itís a continuous tone doesnít make it your responsibility.
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David Simpson

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Re: Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2019, 10:36:08 am »

I agree. This becomes a customer service issue for the house management staff. I have spent a good deal of time mixing in theaters. This is a common occurrence. Often times these individuals have no idea it is happening since their high frequency hearing is so far gone.

Some solutions that have worked for my staff in the past has been simply notifying them of the issue (most people do not want to disrupt things), offering them a listening assisted device to help with their hearing, and offering to reseat them in an area with less background noise so that they can potentially hear better.

~Dave
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Jon-Philippe Ruhumuliza

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Re: Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 09:47:14 pm »

First, this is a contradictory statement.  If itís only happened to you once in 15 years itís not happening somewhat regularly.



Clarification. I have only worked in this church for 5 months, but the lead conductor informed me that this is a familiar occurrence in the space. For me, I have never run across this problem most likely because I have typically operated in high spl situations which would have masked any hearing aid feedback.

Thank you for your suggestions.
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Jon-Philippe Ruhumuliza

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Re: Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 09:57:12 pm »

I agree. This becomes a customer service issue for the house management staff. I have spent a good deal of time mixing in theaters. This is a common occurrence. Often times these individuals have no idea it is happening since their high frequency hearing is so far gone.

Some solutions that have worked for my staff in the past has been simply notifying them of the issue (most people do not want to disrupt things), offering them a listening assisted device to help with their hearing, and offering to reseat them in an area with less background noise so that they can potentially hear better.

~Dave

Thanks Dave! I hear ya on the bad hearing. Half of the members didn't even hear the frequencies!! And those who actually did were women (excellent hearing naturally!). That being said, the lead pastor is also a woman and was quite frustrated over everything. c'est la vie!!

I had recommended usher support and someone on the ministerial team mentioned that they will begin working on clarifying announcements from the pulpit when this problem arises again.

On a side note... Apparently, the feedback comes from a poorly fitted hearing aid. The solution I believe includes applying vasseline or cleaning out earwax (see https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/10142-Guide-to-coping-with). Imagine a sound engineer taking on that venture! LOL

Anywho. Thanks again!

JP
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Lance Rectanus

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Re: Hearing Aid Feedback Interrupting Church Service
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2019, 11:31:01 am »

I had recommended usher support and someone on the ministerial team ...

I used to serve on a church committee with a gentleman whose hearing aids tended to feed back often. He couldn't hear it but was aware that it happened. Just looking at him and pointing/tapping on your own ear would clue him into it. He would turn them down and the problem was solved.
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