August 28, 2018
That Sounded Great!
I just returned from a wonderful event at the Lied Center at the University of Kansas. The event took place in the auditorium and was titled: Gael Hannan: I’m Hearing as Hard as I Can. The event was the public debut for the new hearing loop in the auditorium. A hearing loop is a wire that is installed into a facility that puts out a magnetic field. This magnetic field is then picked up directly through the telecoil of most modern hearing aids. In this way the sound that goes into the microphones on stage is nearly directly conducted to the ear through a hearing aid (or listening device available for free at the Lied Center).
Roughly 20% of Americans have some hearing loss, so this addition is great news. I have never spent much time wearing a hearing aid as I do not have much of a hearing loss – my high frequencies are dipping a bit, though. The audiology staff at our office did, however, get me equipped with an appropriate hearing aid for this event. I really did not know quite what to expect as I took a seat in the auditorium. I have been to many concerts and performances over the years and have generally been able to hear most of the important parts- I think. Most of the lines and music I have missed likely have been due to a poor sound system and inadequate microphones/speakers.
I took a seat and listened to some of the pre-event music. It sounded good – typical orchestral music for a large auditorium. Then I put in the hearing aids and pushed a small button on the back that enabled the telecoil. Wow – what a difference! I was surrounded by the music and there was no static or electronic interference. When the program started, I did the same when Gael was speaking. I could hear adequately with my own ears, but with the telecoil she was speaking directly to me and the sound quality was spectacular. I have relatively good hearing and the difference was profound. I can only imagine the difference that this would make for the millions with a significant hearing loss. For many I believe that this would mean the difference between having no interest in attending an event, to thoroughly enjoying events in the Lied Center.
Various locations throughout the country are installing telecoils including schools, churches, auditoriums, airports, courtrooms, museums, etc. These are welcome additions. There are various ways to find hearing loops. One is the website loopfinder.com. If you have hearing loss – or even if you don’t, I would encourage you to try this wonderful technology. You will hear the difference!
Thanks to Derek Kwan and All at the Lied Center!
Lee A. Reussner, M.D.