Art museum installs hearing loop


DAYTON — As part of its ongoing efforts to make the museum accessible to everyone, the Dayton Art Institute has partnered with Hillcrest Hearing, the audiology division of Southwest Ohio ENT, to install a hearing loop system in its recently renovated Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium.

“Many recent renovations at the museum have focused on making our historic building more accessible, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Dayton Art Institute Director and CEO Michael R. Roediger. “With the recent renovations and improvements to our Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium, we also wanted to make that space more accessible to those with hearing loss. We thank Hillcrest Hearing and Southwest Ohio ENT for helping fund the installation of a state-of-the-art hearing loop system from Hearing Loops Incorporated.”

What is a hearing loop? Hearing loop systems (audio frequency induction loop systems — AFILS) have been widely used in Northern Europe for decades to extend the performance of hearing aids, but because few people realize that it is an option, it has been slower to advance in the United States.

According to Debra Valatka, Director of Get Looped and CEO of Hearing Loops Inc., said, “The need has never been greater, and the timing has never been better. Forty-eight million people are struggling with hearing loss today in the U.S. and 15 percent of the 48 million are kids from 6 to 19 years of age. Hearing loss is the fastest growing disability in the U.S. today, according to the Better Hearing Institute. Many people living with hearing loss struggle to hear sermons in places of worship, TV, theaters, drive-up windows and meeting rooms, as just a few examples. Listening to sound broadcast through a hearing loop changes that and extends the function of Telecoil-equipped hearing aids by 100 percent, making all speech and sound clear, clean and customized.”

Most hearing aids and listening devices are equipped with a Telecoil or have the option available. The Telecoil is a small copper wire coiled around a rod located inside hearing aids, cochlear implants or listening devices. The Telecoil works as an “antenna” to pick up magnetic signals produced by a hearing loop system and stream them as sound into a Telecoil-equipped listening device. The Telecoil usually needs to be turned on by a hearing healthcare professional.

The DAI’s new hearing loop system has been installed and is now in service. More information about the system and its use will be available at events in the Rose Auditorium, as well as online at www.daytonartinstitute.org.