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.