Hearing access, Barcelona-style

Stained glass amidst stonework in high-ceilinged church.

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

After the Future Loops Conference in Berlin October 6-8, 2017,¬† I took a side trip to Barcelona, Spain. I found places with very good hearing access that I’d like to share with you.

While I didn’t always see enough signage, I did find plenty of places that used assistive listening systems.

Please comment below and share your experiences with assistive listening systems in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Sagrada Familia temple, only one person was allowed to stand in line to secure audio guides. When I explained to staff what I needed, they fast-forwarded me to the front of the line. I asked for a neckloop, so he found me one…and to make sure it worked, he even took the time to accompany me to the first station. And I was able to see and hear about Antoni Gaudi’s most famous, awe-inspiring work.

Here’s a look at the system…

 

Later, in La Pedrera, I found a counter loop at the desk, though there was no separate microphone. The headsets were hearing aid/telecoil enabled. (Staff did not offer a headset and did not speak English.) Some information is available on their website.

 

Finally at Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, I found this device. It had a speaker on top, and I used my telecoil program just like I would do with a phone.

Such a joy to find hearing access options abroad, though much work needs to be done to let people know the technology is available (such as via signs, website info, etc.)

What have you found that helped you hear in Europe?

–Cheri Perazzoli, Founder
Let’s Loop Seattle

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A loop at home? Yes! And here’s how

We’ve shared lots of information about hearing loops in public venues, but people with hearing loss should be aware that loops can be a tremendous help in the home, too.

A loop can work through your television so that you can hear clearly without the volume becoming too loud for others in the room. Family and friends can comfortably enjoy a movie or show with you.

room loop illustration

You can also connect a loop to a wireless microphone to help communicate with friends, family, and guests in your home.

If a room is designed in a way that loop wire can’t be installed, loop pads (also called “chair pads”) can be placed under a chair or can even be used when traveling.

chair pad

Longtime hearing loss advocate Loopin’ Lou Touchette has created an an excellent step-by-step home loop installation guide ¬†that provides more details.

Consider a loop for your home, and as always, let us know if you need help.

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We’d love your vote

oticon FOPWe’ve been nominated for an Oticon Focus on People Award! Would you do us the honor of voting for us?

We work hand-in-hand with HLAA and HLAA-WA on many projects, so your support of us also supports their work.

Lately, we’ve….

  • Forged partnerships with Washington Senior Lobby, AARP Washington, and Disability Rights Washington
  • Coordinated with Rooted in Rights on the Like the Mic video
  • Helped pass SB 5177 to require hearing loss recognition training for long-term care workers
  • Worked with SeaTac Airport on their accessibility initiatives

Vote here, and scroll down to pick Cheri Perazzoli.

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Do you like the mic?

My voice is loud enough!”

“I don’t need a microphone!”

“I know you can hear me.”

“Can you hear me? Good!”

When you’re speaking to a group, have you used those phrases an excuse for not using the microphone? If you have, then you’ve left people out.

Forty-eight million Americans experience hearing loss every day. Even people with “good” hearing sometimes struggle to hear in large or acoustically challenging spaces–or even smaller meetings or events. But many of these folks are too shy or embarrassed to speak up and ask you to use a microphone (or other assistive listening technology.)

So when you set the mic down, you leave people out. Pick it up and use it, and you help many people, slowing down the conversation so it’s easier to follow. A mic helps facilitate your meeting. And a microphone is the key to all assistive listening technology, like hearing loops and remote CART.

How can you learn to like the mic? Start by watching this fun, informative video by our wise, talented friends at Rooted in Rights and Disability Rights Washington. Learn to use the mic properly and your confidence will rise–and more people will will benefit.like the mic screenshot

The mic isn’t scary, we promise. But it is a solid first step to create inclusive, hearing-friendly events and meetings.

 

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Neighborhood access, Skagit style

Led by two of our star advocates, Jerry and Joanna Olmstead, hearing access in the Burlington area is happening.

And by happening, we mean happening.

In Burlington, Dimensional Communications installed loops in the Burlington City Council Chambers.

Island Hospital in Anacortes has counter loops at the intake and emergency desks–look for the blue ear symbol. Our advocates are working so staff are trained to use the loops and that they’re available, not left in a cupboard. Meanwhile, an Island Hospital committee is looking at ways to improve services for people with hearing loss.

Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon is considering adding a hearing loop.

You already know about the hearing loops at the Burlington Library.

And the hearing loop at Skyline Club House in Anacortes helps make it a well-loved, hearing-friendly event space. We need more of those, eh?

When we talk about boots-on-the-ground advocates and hearing-friendly neighborhoods, this is what we mean. You don’t have to drive to Olympia or call your senator (though we urge you to do those things if you can.) You can simply ask for hearing access in your own back yard, and keep asking until it’s provided.

It really works.

more burlington

 

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