Audio loop system for hearing aid users installed in Sudbury retail stores
It’s now easier for hearing aid users in Sudbury, Ontario to understand what a cashier is telling them at the grocery store.
The Sudbury branch of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association has partnered with two retailers to install a hearing loop system at store cash registers.
Also known as a frequency induction loop system, a hearing loop is a wireless system that sends signals to individuals’ hearing aids. The hearing aid must be equipped with a telecoil (t-coil), a small copper wire that acts as an antenna.
“I like to say they have a speakerphone in their ear,” said Joe Stacknik, Sudbury Hearing Awareness Coordinator. He explained that there is a microphone near the cash register. The system sends a signal to a customer’s hearing aid while standing at the cashier, to amplify what the cashier is saying.
“The cashier has nothing to do, he just has to do his job,” he said. “They don’t have to bend down to speak into the microphone or anything like that.”
People with hearing problems may experience problems in noisy public places. During the pandemic, wearing the mask and plexiglass barriers added to the challenges.
“Hearing impaired people struggled – even people without hearing impairments had difficulty hearing people in masks and behind barriers,” Stacknik said.
Hearing loop systems have now been installed at four Your Independent Grocer locations in Greater Sudbury, as well as two Giant Tiger locations. It is planned to install the system at Independent Grocer in Espanola, as well as at FreshCo.
The Sudbury Theater Center is already equipped with the technology. A few local churches have hearing loops, and the Places des Art building will have the systems installed once it opens.
“Sudbury has been kind of a test market, but we’re going to go through northeastern Ontario. That’s the big picture, ”Stacknik said, adding that there are plans to install the system in North Bay, Timmins and Sault Ste. Married.
Morning North9:40 a.m.Some Sudbury area stores now have “hearing loops” to help people with hearing loss