Do You Hear What I Hear?

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You are invited to an Interactive Experience about Hearing Loss and Technology Assistance

On Saturday, March 3, 2018, at 1:00 p.m., join your community to learn about the benefits of hearing assistance and hearing loop technology. Join us at Messiah Church, 17805 County Road 6, Plymouth.  Whether you or a loved one use hearing aids or are beginning to experience hearing loss, or if you know of a venue considering adding hearing assistance, this event is for you! 

At 1 p.m., Dr. Juliette Sterkens, audiologist and nationally known speaker with the Hearing Loss Association of America will present on hearing loss, hearing assistance and current related legislation. Attendees will experience the benefits of the hearing loop - either through their own hearing devices or by using one of the “loop listeners” available for demonstration. 

Hearing loops create an inaudible signal that is received by telecoil (t-coil) equipped/enabled hearing aids, cochlear implants or hearing loop listeners. Messiah Church installed a hearing loop in 2017.  In services, all spoken word, music, and multi-media elements of the service are “broadcast” in the sanctuary via the loop.  This direct-to-the-ear method eliminates background noise and echo, and dramatically improves clarity. 

 
 

Retired Pastor Leland Eyres, whose hearing loss is described as “profound” by his audiologist, said “Even using my hearing aids, I used to get maybe 50 percent of the spoken words in the worship service. The first Sunday that the loop was operational, I was astonished by the clarity of every spoken voice and how the music was lifted out of the mud.  My hopes and expectations were far exceeded.” 

“Hearing loss isn’t just inconvenient,” said Dr. Juliette Sterkens, “it’s isolating and can have far-reaching health consequences.  And, hearing loss affects all ages.  Today, one in five people over age 12 are affected.” 

After the presentation, stay for refreshments and talk to the many organizations participating in the Information Fair. Service organizations, hearing professionals, and manufacturers will be available to help you explore the many technologies available to assist with hearing loss.  

LEARN MORE ABOUT LOOPS and the impact this user-friendly, universal, and user-preferred (but relatively unknown) technology could have on your life, or your business, by attending this free community event.  One CEU is offered for health professionals. 

For More Information, contact:
Barb Krause
Loopinfo@messiahchurch.org
(763)473-6968

Senior Center in Rochester now houses 15 hearing loops

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One of the newest resources for senior living in Rochester is the 125 Live Senior Center. 125 Live provides new opportunities for adults to make connections and to, as they say, “age successfully.” Whether that is through the fitness amenities, an art class, or playing billiards, this program is dedicated to providing a community through shared experiences. This state-of-the-art facility opened November 2016, and Midwest Hearing Loops was proud to be present at the opening ceremony and dedication.

125 Live Senior Center opened in November 2016
Sally Gallagher in the River Room of 125 Live.

Executive Director Sally Gallagher took the time at the dedication to express her excitement about hearing loops being installed in the facility. “Others are going to be able to take advantage of the importance of allowing individuals to hear properly when they’re in an auditorium-style setting, a group setting, a small meeting space,” Gallagher said, “so we’re really excited that 125 Live has the technology and that everyone in the community can learn about the technology and bring it into their facilities as well.”

Hearing Loops Enhance User Experiences in Diverse Settings

We were happy enough to be part of the construction process, as we installed 15 hearing loops in different rooms throughout the center. Among the looped rooms are two art studios, the fitness studio, the billiards room, and the River Room. We also installed counter loops for the person-to-person interactions that take place at the two reception desks.

 
Loop installation in River Room
 
MHL loop installers in the new activities room.
 

Hearing Loops Assist in Multiple Rooms for Various Uses

The River Room is one of the larger rooms that we looped on the premises, and one of the most well-used. It is a premiere gathering space and can be divided into four separate rooms. It is used for large presentations and can be rented by the public for wedding receptions, meetings, and events (such as dances). One regular use for that room is a weekly square-dance gathering.

Another loop that we installed is in conference room 207. The room seats up to 16, and is where many meetings are held, including management and board meetings. This hearing loop system includes an advanced microphone system which picks up the conversation of all participants, so a person who relies on the loop can hear the entire dialogue and fully participate.

We are excited to see how 125 Live moves forward with their exciting programming, and hope that more people will take advantage of the hearing loop technology to fully engage in what this center has to offer!

Eco-friendly design now includes a people-friendly hearing loop at WBUUC

 White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church expansion, designed by   Locus Architecture

White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church expansion, designed by Locus Architecture

White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church incorporates many innovative features.  

White Bear Unitarian is a beautiful building, winning an award from the American Institute of Architects for its eco-friendly design. When the facility was expanded in 2006, some of the architecture design considerations included a re-purposed original structure, natural lighting, solar panels, preservation of natural habitat, sustainable landscaping, and low maintenance construction materials. Even the parking lot was paved with permeable material, allowing rainwater to drain through natural filters before it flows into groundwater. 


The latest innovative feature: an inductive loop system.

In 2016 we enjoyed the opportunity to work at this lovely location, but, of course, a building with such a unique design had its own unique loop needs.

At every location we install a loop designed specifically for that location’s needs. Because of the special architectural designs at White Bear Unitarian, we wanted to be extra careful to be as unobtrusive as possible. We laid a flat copper wire around the nave so that it would better hide under the carpeting and behind different architectural aspects. However, for the front of the nave close to the altar, we were able to incorporate some of the architectural touches to help us hide the loop. 

By switching from the flat copper wire to round wire, we were able to perfectly slip the wire into the concrete gap along the front of the nave, to the extent that it is next to impossible to see the wire in the front. The decision to make the switch from one kind of wire to another did mean that we had to do some on-site welding, but that was nothing Rick Korinek couldn’t handle.

 Anna Gehres, representative for WBUUC, with members of our project team - Rick Korinek and Tom R.

Anna Gehres, representative for WBUUC, with members of our project team - Rick Korinek and Tom R.

In the end, this on-site decision was able to make sure that all the seats in the nave were looped, whereas before a few seats had to be left out to preserve the location’s architectural design. Another job well done, team! Now we’re on to the next loop! 

That's Not A Selfie... That's My Hearing Loop Test!

Recently, we were performing a site inspection, conducting the test at a community theater while actors were rehearsing onstage.  After observing this for about half an hour, one of the young actors finally called out from the stage:  "Why are you walking around taking selfies out there?"  After the laughter died down, I explained that we were doing some testing because the management was considering installing a hearing loop for patrons to use. After a few more questions about what hearing loops are, both groups went back to our respective work. 

One of the things about hearing loops is that every potential installation is different.  The amount of metal in the structure where the hearing loop will be installed has a large impact on the type and complexity of hearing loop.  One can’t tell just by looking if the space can be looped with a simple perimeter loop or, more commonly, a phased array.  Then, if a phased array is required, what is the optimal conductor spacing and so on…

 it looks like a selfie.  testing all our hearing loop designs assures optimal performance.

it looks like a selfie.  testing all our hearing loop designs assures optimal performance.

There are important parameters that determine hearing loop performance - that is, how well it works for its users in the audience: signal level, uniformity and frequency response, to name a few.  If a loop is not designed properly, one or more can be deficient.  If so, people relying on the loop, those with hearing impairment, may still struggle to hear what is being communicated.  In some respects, a hearing loop is a little like eye glasses.  Would you want to invest in a pair of new glasses or contacts that only bring your vision back to 20/40 when you could have eyewear that provides you with 20/20 vision?

 through rigorous on-site testing, midwest hearing loops verifies every one of its designs will work well. 

through rigorous on-site testing, midwest hearing loops verifies every one of its designs will work well. 

Just like a vision test, where your vision is tested through the recommended prescription, our testing allows us to determine the optimum design for the hearing loop and verify that our hearing loop will indeed perform as needed.  There really isn’t any other way or short cut.  Furthermore, our testing allows us to provide accurate pricing because we know precisely what the system will require.

So, back to the theater.  A good part of the testing involves taking measurements while walking and sitting in the space.  The meter used to measure signal strength and frequency response is just slightly thicker than most smart phones.  To the casual observer, we are walking around, staring into a hand-held device seemingly oblivious to what is going on around us.  I guess it’s not so hard to see why it looks like excessive selfie behavior.  In spite of this we won’t stop testing because we know how important it is to delivering a hearing loop that will work for the people who will rely on it.

New Loopmobile Hits the Road!

At the end of 2015, we took possession of our new white van.  We quickly put it to use.  While it was new, its white color made it, frankly, boring.  Well, it is boring no longer.  Recently, we took it to Signs Now, a sign & graphics company in Blaine, MN to have it outfitted with our new graphics.  Here is a picture of Rick and Steve picking up the new van. 

 when you see this van, you know there's a new loop being installed somewhere nearby.

when you see this van, you know there's a new loop being installed somewhere nearby.

Since you have been to our new website or Facebook page, you’ve already seen our new graphics and logo.  It is the result of a collaboration with Rick’s brother Steve Korinek, a talented graphic designer in Grafton, WI.  It was fun to work with him and we are proud to be using our new logo as we move forward, designing and installing hearing loops in the region.

So, drive safe and keep an eye out for our new van.  It may be coming to a neighborhood near you.