Hearing Loop

Let anyone with ears listen’ are words of Jesus found scattered throughout the Gospels. He would offer a parable and punctuate the explanation with these five words as if to say “Do you hear me?  Can you understand what I am saying?” 

Now, imagine what it would be like to NOT be able to hear the words of Jesus, to have to strain to catch a word here and there and struggle to make sense of the message. This has been the experience for individuals with hearing impairments worshiping in First Cong’s sanctuary. The old hearing assist system’s sporadic reception has caused frustration for users for quite some time, and created a demand for something new.

Through funds from memorial gifts, the Stewardship Board approved the installation of a Hearing Loop in the Sanctuary. Worship on June 9 was the first full use of the system. First Cong member Jeanne Tyler, who has struggled with hearing loss from birth, was in worship and offered these words:

Pray, Thank You and WOW!

Thanks and Wow go to the congregation of First Congregational United Church of Christ. I had the awesome experience of hearing an entire worship service from the announcements through to the Benediction. I was so excited I had trouble going to sleep on Saturday night in anticipation of Sunday morning worship. Actually I prayed. It is a great experience to flip the switch on my hearing aid to the T-coil setting and hear! I hear through the church's sound system. It is a great joy to hear in worship. I did not have to strain to hear and understand the words, they came to me effortlessly. I was much less fatigued following worship. It was a miraculous time for me to hear clearly in worship. I am so awed by both the technology that the T-coil provides and the commitment to being an accessible church to all and the generosity of the church to support the purchase and installation of an excellent first rate assistive technological hearing system. A huge Thanks to all who worked on this improvement in our church. There were a lot of people who voted to support this project as it made its way forward. Thank you and Wow!

The Hearing Loop uses T-Coil (or Tele-Coil) technology to convert sound into waves that are picked up by hearing aids and cochlear implants equipped with a T-Coil. In effect, this new system picks up sound from the microphone and sends it directly into the person’s ear. Individuals with hearing aids are urged to talk with their audiologist to see if they have the T-Coil, and how to turn it on.  

Personal Hearing Assist Receivers are also available in the back of the sanctuary for those who may not use a hearing aide, or whose hearing aide does not have T-Coil. While ear pieces are readily offered, the new Hearing Assist Receivers have universal jacks allowing individuals to bring their own ear buds or headphones to worship and simply plug them in. This system also reaches beyond those with hearing impairments to individuals who may find listening in a crowded room a challenge. Concentrating on the message over ‘crowd noise’ can be difficult for some. This direct audio link to the speaker may offer a more rewarding worship experience. People are encouraged to experiment with this new system and see what works best for them.

More information on the Hearing Loop can be found in the back of the Sanctuary and an informational workshop will be offered in the near future. If you have any questions, please contact Jeff Rabe at the Church Office.

 

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 10:35 am in Featured Content.

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