Meeting at Ridges Will Discuss Hearing Loops

The Rotary Club Door County North invites anyone with impaired hearing or those interested in improving conditions for the hearing impaired to attend a meeting at 8 am Wednesday, May 23, at The Ridges, 8166 Highway 57 in Baileys Harbor. The program on hearing loops – wiring installed in spaces that vastly improves reception for the hearing impaired – will be presented by Dr. Juliëtte Sterkens. An audiologist who discovered that her patients in Oshkosh raved about how well they could hear in rooms with hearing loops, Sterkens left her practice to become a hearing loop advocate for the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Fifteen years ago, David Myers, a college professor from Holland, Michigan, attended a service in an 800-year-old church in Scotland. Although he had new hearing aids, he was able to hear only garbled sounds. Then his wife noticed a blue sign on the wall – a white ear with a slash through it and a T in the bottom right corner, indicating that the sanctuary offered a “hearing loop.”

By pressing a button to activate the telecoils on his hearing aids, the words from the pastor came directly into his ears, and he heard them crystal clear. When he returned to Michigan, he led the effort to install hearing loop technology in hundreds of meeting rooms, high school auditoriums, houses of worship and other public places. All cochlear implants and most behind-the-ear hearing devices offer the telecoil option.

“Hearing loops address the shortfalls of hearing aids, which make sounds louder but not necessarily understandable,” Sterkens says. “The hearing aid can correct the loudness issue, sometimes can improve the clarity issue, but doesn’t give you normal hearing. And then if you are in a situation where hearing aids are really unable to deliver – because of background noise, distance and reverberation – they are unable to fill in the gaps. Hearing loops eliminate that problem. A loop is installed below the carpeting and transmits a magnetic signal to the hearing aid. A button on many hearing aids allows the user to wirelessly connect directly to the PA system through the loop.”

Questions Dr. Sterkens will address include:

  • Why people with hearing loss say they can hear but can’t understand.
  • How to get the most out of hearing aids you already own.
  • How hearing loops can help you hear better in large public places.
  • How to get your favorite venue or church interested in a loop.
  • How hearing loops can help anyone, not just those with hearing aids.

There are currently three looped sites in Door County – the Door Community Auditorium, Bail Hall at Björklunden and the Cook-Albert Fuller Nature Center at the Ridges, where the meeting on May 23 will be held. Please call 920-868-2997 for reservations for the free program.

A second presentation by Dr. Sterkens will be at 1 pm that day at the Sturgeon Bay Community Center, 916 N. 14th Ave.

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