New Loop at the Bellingham Public Library, Plus More Loops to Come, Boost Post-Pandemic Hearing Access

A counter loop like this one at the Bellingham Public Library means ADA-compliant hearing access, faster customer service, happier customers, and relaxed, confident employees.

Glass shields and facemasks make communication harder for everyone, even more so for people with hearing loss and people who are Deaf. An N95 mask can reduce high-frequency sounds by 12 decibels, and worse, any mask will reduce or even eliminate our ability to interpret facial expressions and speech-read. Hearing loops and other hearing accommodations are needed now more than ever to overcome these new communication barriers brought about by the pandemic.

Longtime hearing loss advocates in Bellingham, Washington, are taking matters into their own…ears. Thanks to advocates with HLAA-Whatcom County, this new counter loop at the Bellingham Public Library is one of many loops planned for the Bellingham area. The team hopes to bring a similar loop setup to City Hall, parks & recreation, the municipal court, police, public works, and more.

For clearer sound and better comprehension, library patrons can turn their hearing aids or CIs to T or Telecoil mode in order to tune into the hearing loop. Patrons who need a little help hearing but who don’t have hearing aids (or hearing aids with telecoils) can borrow a headset to hear better.

Thank you so much to our HLAA-Whatcom County loop advocates extraordinaire: Mike Sweeney, Lou Touchette, Larry Wonnacott, Don Gischer, Jerry and Joanna Olmstead, Jerry Finkbonner, Tanya Griffey, Pam Spencer, and Charlene MacKenzie, Joyce Moseley-Sweeney, and Vicki Hammond, with a special nod of gratitude to Cheri Perazzoli and Ann Thomas.

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