For more than a year, Christ Lutheran Church in Minot has offered a hearing loop for assisted listening technology in its sanctuary. The church and Ann Nicole Nelson Hall at Minot State University are the only two locations in Minot with this technology.
Pastor Desiree Uhrich and longtime congregation member Judy Jarmin had studied and opted to recommend the church add a hearing loop at Christ Lutheran. Portable Hearing Aids
Uhrich said hearing loop technology has actually been around for several years and according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, loops deliver the cleanest sound to people with hearing loss, even to those with severe to profound hearing loss, and loops meet the highest ADA standard for accessible design.
“People who have experienced the hearing loop have told me they haven’t been able to hear this well in worship for many, many years,” said Uhrich.
Jarmin said, in her personal experience, “The hearing loop is a godsend. The loop encompasses the entire sanctuary. It is activated in hearing aids with T-coil technology. I just have to push a button when I enter the sanctuary and it works. I wish every church and meeting hall in town had one.”
According to Midwest Hearing Loops, a hearing loop helps people hear sounds from a microphone or an audio system directly and clearly in their hearing aids because it reduces or cuts out background noise. A hearing loop provides a wireless, inductive signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is turned to “Telecoil” setting. The loop system consists of a microphone to pick up the spoken word; a loop amplifier which processes signal; and the loop conductors, an array of small wires installed into the architecture in the location of the audience or participants.
“So many of us that go through hearing loss miss out on so much of the messages or spoken word. With the loop, it speaks directly to your ear and you hear so precisely. It’s incredible. I remember one gentleman came to a service and experienced it for the first time and his eyes lit up and he was amazed, as well as many others,” said Jarmin.
Uhrich said worship in person includes a social component and opportunity to visit, embrace and demonstrate care and love to one another. Despite the financial investment involved, the hearing loop was by far the best option to facilitate this and avoid the heartbreaking struggle for those with hearing impairments.
Jarmin added the cost is not ridiculously expensive and a very obtainable goal with some fundraising and/or support.
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