Hearing the sacred through a loop

It’s hard to say how many folks have given up going to church because of their hearing loss. But even one person who sits at home on a Sunday morning when they’d rather be in fellowship with their neighbors is one person too many.

Many church buildings suffer from the same poor acoustics that other large venues with high ceilings do. Microphones help with comprehension, when they’re used consistently and correctly. But lots can happen to distort words–even words of inspiration and worship–on their way from the microphone through the PA and to our ears. This is more true for people with hearing aids or cochlear implants, for whom echoes and reverberation are amplified.

Loops have been called a godsend, and perhaps this is literally true in churches. Wisconsin in particular has several looped churches, and New Mexico is increasingly connecting parishioners to services via  loop as well.

How about Washington State? Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirkland was one of the first local churches to become looped. Northlake UU also hosts a looped Meaningful Movie each month. Logo

In West Seattle, you could visit Fauntleroy Church to hear through a loop. Head up the hill to Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood for the loop at Bethany Presbyterian Church.  Also in Seattle is the University Congregational United Church of Christ, who installed a hearing loop in 2015.

 

Head east to use Lake Sammamish Foursquare Church’s or St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church’s loops in Bellevue. Further east yet is Covenant Presbyterian Church‘s loop in Issaquah and Redmond’s Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross. Bremerton has two looped churches, Holy Trinity Catholic and Peace Lutheran.

Meanwhile, south Puget Sound folks can attend looped services at Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church in Des Moines or First Christian Church in Kent. Outside the Puget Sound area, visit Grace United Methodist Church in Walla Walla, Unitarian Universalist Church in Spokane, or St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Sequim.

What better way to welcome people with hearing loss into the fold? We honor these churches for creating inclusive, welcoming spaces for everyone.

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A looped Lincoln Theatre? You can help.

Lincoln Theatre in Mt. Vernon, Washington, is fundraising for a new sound system…with a loop!

You can donate to this wonderful community theatre and help them reach their goal. They plan for enough microphones for each individual performer, so their new sound design will help everyone understand better.

Thank you to our dynamic duo,HLA-WA’s Jerry and Joanna Olmstead, for their persistence in helping make this drive happen.

lincoln-theatre

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The Rep wins WAF award

The Washington Access Fund will award the Seattle Repertory Theatre its 2016 Best Practices Award at the WAF awards dinner on November 3, 2016 at Bell Harbor Conference Center.

sign-seattle-rep-sherlock

The Rep has invested time, energy, and heart into making their performances extraordinarily accessible. This year, they raised funds for and installed a hearing loop for the Bagley Wright and Leo K Theatres. And that’s just the one star effort among the Rep’s many inclusive practices…

  • Ticket booths, the refreshment area, and the concierge are also looped, so that patrons can hear clearly throughout the venue
  • Each production includes an open-captioned performance
  • Audio-described performances help people with reduced vision understand and enjoy the performance
  • American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters translate dialogue for people who are deaf
  •  Large-print programs are available
  • Both theatres are fully accessible for people with mobility concerns
  • Pay What You Can performances remove financial barriers

The Rep allowed us to work closely with them to ensure the loop works. Sound design is not always straightforward or easy, but the Rep listened to our feedback and continually modified the system. Composer Richard Einhorn, who has experienced hearing loss, consulted with the Rep to help perfect the sound. The loop earns raves from patrons, and some have told us they haven’t heard so clearly in years–or ever.

We were exceedingly pleased to nominate the Rep for this award. We watched them leaping over tall buildings and stop speeding bullets in order to make people with hearing loss feel included and welcome. And we do.

You’ll see us at the WAF awards. With bells on and much gratitude.

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Legislative action: we need YOU!

HLA-WA and Loop Washinton are gearing up for 2017 state-level advocacy work. And we need your help.

Attend one of these Washington Senior Lobby candidate forums this fall and let lawmakers know that affordable hearing aids, Medicare coverage of hearing aids, and communication access are important to you.

Snohomish County (1st, 10th, 21st, 32nd, 38th, 39th, 44th LDs)
Tuesday, September 27th, 3 – 5 PM
Carl Gipson Senior Center, 3025 Lombard Avenue, Everett, WA 98201

Kitsap County (23rd & 26th LDs & County Commissioners)
Thursday, September 29th, 6 – 8 PM
Kitsap County Administration Building, Board of County Commissioner Chambers, 619 Division St #4, Port Orchard, WA 98366

South King County (47th LD)
Tuesday, October 4th, 10 AM – Noon
Auburn Community Center and the REC Teen Center, Les Gove Park, 910 Ninth Street SE, Auburn, WA

Northeast Washington (3rd, 4th & 6th LDs)
Wednesday, October 5th, 2 – 4 PM
Southside Senior & Community Center Ballroom, 3151 E. 27th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99223

East King County (1st, 41st, 45th & 48th LDs )
Monday, October 10th 1:30 – 3:30 PM
North Bellevue Community Center, 4063 148th Avenue NE, Bellevue, WA 98007

Southeast Washington (8th, 9th & 16th LDs)
Tuesday, October 18th 1:30 – 3:30 PM
Elks Lodge, 351 East Rose Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362

Pierce County (25th LD)
Thursday, October 20th 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Puyallup Activity Center, 210 W Pioneer Avenue, Puyallup, WA 98371

Before you attend, be sure to request hearing accommodation and CART. We suggest including this wording below. (If you are sending an email, the subject line should read “Request for ADA Accommodations.”)

“I’d like to attend the Washington Senior Lobby Candidate forum on <date> at <place>. 

As a person who wears hearing aids every day to understand speech, I also rely on assistive technology in public places.  <Explain your level of hearing loss (identify yourself as a person with a disability)> Because I require communication access in order to participate as others do, I would like to respectfully request that pursuant to Title II of the ADA for “effective communication” that steps are made to make sure captions and/or assistive listening devices such as loops are available.  Please note that the financial responsibility for accommodation does not fall to me.

If I don’t hear back from you within a week or so, I’ll follow up. I’m happy to provide more information for you, or you can visit loopseattle.org, hearingloss-wa.org, or find a CART provider here.  

Sincerely,

<Name>
<Address>
<Phone>
<email>

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The world needs YOU to learn looping

The world needs qualified, skilled loop installers.

Learn how to do it right at one of Contacta’s (affordable) training sessions.

Hearing Loop Training for Hearing and Health Care Providers
August 22-24, 2016
Kalamazoo, MI
$275

Hearing Loop Training
September 19-21, 2016
Scottsdale, AZ
$395

Hearing Loop Training
November 7-9, 2016
Philadelphia, PA
$395

Hearing Loop Training HHCP

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