Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, has installed a new system that sends the sounds of its church services directly to hearing aids and cochlear implants.
The system, called an induction hearing loop, is widely used in Europe, and is becoming more popular in the United States. It consists of a flat copper wire that is installed under the carpet to surround the pews. The loop is connected to a special amplifier that gets its input from the church’s sound system. Sermons, music, readings, prayers, and announcements are all transmitted by the loop via a magnetic signal.
A hearing aid that that is equipped with a telecoil or “T-coil” device can receive the signal. The majority of hearing aids sold today have T-coils. By consulting with one’s audiologist, the user can have the T-coil enabled and optimized for loop listening, and learn how to activate it.
For hearing aid users, no headset is required in order to benefit from the hearing assistance system. For hearing impaired people without hearing aids, headsets are available.
“We realized that some of our church members were unable to clearly hear the service,” said the Rev. Harrison Heidel, rector at St. Barnabas. “The church leadership chose to make this investment not only for current members, but also for future members and other folks in the community who may want to use our facility.”