Members Rejoice: Churches Ask Congregants to Bring Their Phones to Service

Instead of asking parishioners to turn off their cell phones during worship service, what if they could use them to hear your sermon clearly, no matter where they are in the building, or how well they hear? Venues everywhere are embracing the omnipresent smartphone as an assistive-listening solution and using the devices to get churchgoers more involved in the service.

But how does that work? It’s simple: Wi-Fi. Streaming audio over Wi-Fi isn’t a new technology. However, recent advances improved the technology and reduced latency, so there’s basically no audio delay. That’s made streaming audio over Wi-Fi to smartphones the perfect solution for assistive listening as well as live audio. Here’s why you need it and how it works:

Build Connections
Delivering sound over Wi-Fi to devices parishioners already carry is a simple way to re-engage churchgoers who’ve felt disconnected because they can’t hear or understand.

Maybe you’ve got parishioners who spend parts of the service in the cry room or lobby with their children. Or maybe members of your congregation have hearing loss—statistics show that’s likely as high as 20 percent of your congregants. Perhaps your worship service is a popular place, and audio for overflow seating is an issue. Or do you have parishioners who need translation, but have no way to broadcast it? That means you’ve got people who can’t engage and won’t feel connected to the service. You can help them feel that essential spiritual connection through the power of Wi-Fi with audio delivered straight to their smartphones.

Simply Connect
Audio over Wi-Fi is not only easy for you to install and simple to use, but it’s also affordable. With a small investment—less than $800—churches can deliver clear audio to parishioners in the building with Audio Everywhere from Listen Technologies. All you need to do is connect your audio system—like a TV or microphone—to the local area network using a secure server. It may sound complicated, but it’s as easy as plug and play. Then parishioners connect to your Wi-Fi, download a free app to their smartphones, and start streaming audio. They can listen via their own headphones or earbuds. Or if they have Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, they can stream straight to their ears. And it’s scalable, so that you can accommodate small groups or thousands of users.

Churches can use this as an addition to existing assistive-listening solutions, like radio-frequency systems and hearing loops. Or it can be a standalone assistive-listening solution. Congregants use their own smartphones and headphones, so there’s no equipment for you to buy, store, or maintain.

An audio-over-Wi-Fi system is affordable and easy to install, but invaluable for your members who struggle to hear.

Spread the Word
Once you’ve installed Audio Everywhere, it’s essential to help your parishioners know about the system.

● Publicize: Use your regular news bulletins and website to promote your new listening solution. Also, post signs and posters about the system.
● Teach: Train your staff and volunteers how to use the system and troubleshoot. That way they’ll be ready to show parishioners what to do and answer questions.
● Celebrate: Share the success of Audio Everywhere with online reviews and word of mouth. Laud your increased engagement and attendance at church services.

Streaming audio over Wi-Fi to smartphones is an ideal solution for assistive listening. So, embrace the power of the smartphone and help your parishioners connect with their worship community with Audio Everywhere from Listen Technologies. Go to www.audioeverywhere.com/assistive-church/ to get started today!

ListenTALK in Action

Last year, ListenTALK hit the shelves with a bang. One of ListenTALK’s first customers was Hale Center Theatre in Sandy, Utah. Here’s how it works, where Hale Center Theatre is using it and why they love it:

How ListenTALK works

This on-the-go two-way communication system was built with flexibility in mind. Each device is a transceiver—which means it both transmits and receives audio communication. Creating a group of transceivers is simple! With the tap of a button, ListenTALK devices can be paired on the fly and multiple groups can be created in a matter of seconds. While on a tour, all you have to do is press the Talk button if you want to…talk! If you’re a tour leader, the only reason you’ll need to press the Talk button is to mute yourself. Pretty easy, right?

With a simple setup, you get an innovative communication solution that ensures everyone can come on your adventure with you.

 

In action at Hale Center Theater

Backstage tours are nothing new at Hale Center Theatre, but you haven’t seen them like this before. Last year, Hale Center Theatre built a brand-new, state-of-the-art venue. This beautiful building is unlike anything else in the Salt Lake Valley, and officials needed a communication system that matched the impressive structure. Quinn Dietlein, Hale Center Theatre’s development director and annual giving manager, obtained ListenTALK specifically for backstage tours but has incorporated “all sorts of fun multimedia uses,” thanks to its versatility. Hundreds of people are going on these tours every week, and hundreds of people are walking away impressed with the new theater…and ListenTALK!

 

Why tour guides and participants LOVE it

Remember Quinn from the paragraph above? Well, not only is Quinn a director, he’s a performer. Each tour he takes through the theater has a different flare. Upon meeting his tour group, he learns about participant’s interests and uses that information to tell a personalized story for each group as he takes them through the theater. His tours are as entertaining as the plays he acts in, but one thing is for sure: Quinn is talking all day long. The first time Quinn used ListenTALK for a tour, his excitement was palpable. No longer was he raising his voice, walking backward, or trying to reach every guest. With ListenTALK, guests are participating more, asking more questions, and staying engaged. Now, Quinn speaks normally, and his participants are able to catch the nuances of his personalized tours.

Hale Center Theatre discovered it last year: ListenTALK creates an environment of inclusion and is the perfect tour solution. It’s easy to use for every kind of tour and everyone who uses it, loves it.

 

Are you ready to try ListenTALK? Call (888) 296-1623 or go to https://www.listentalk.com to get started with your free demo kit today.

Putting Students’ Imaginations to Work with ListenPoint 2.0

Let’s face it. Other than parents, teachers have the greatest influence over children, so it is essential that students hear well in the classroom. That’s why we released ListenPoint 2.0, our latest Soundfield solution—we wanted to make learning limitless.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Shakespeare had never learned to read? What if Einstein hadn’t had the opportunity to learn calculus? How different would our lives be if Steve Jobs couldn’t hear his kindergarten teacher? Without Jobs, we’d all still be using those crazy brick cell phones from the 1980’s! #lame #nomobileapps #howwouldiplaycandycrushsaga

Students learn best in environments where they can focus on what their teachers are saying. Unfortunately, several factors can get in the way. Some students have trouble focusing because they have hearing loss or are too far away from the teacher. Meanwhile, the classroom itself might have poor acoustics, or the teacher could have a strained voice from talking too loudly or too long.

In today’s classrooms, students have a lot of creative and innovative thinking to do. ListenPoint 2.0 helps them put their imaginations to work. It can also have a positive effect on their grades and test scores.* #bettergradesareawesome #A+ #listenpointisgenius

ListenPoint 2.0 delivers the following key benefits:

  • With mission critical deployments, it is the most advanced, flexible, scalable Soundfield system delivered by a trusted authority in the pro-AV market.
  • It incorporates AV technology and assistive listening systems to create enhanced and enriched learning environments for all students.
  • It is easy to install, operate, maintain, and adds more functionality over time.
  • It couples competitive pricing with advanced features.

We are truly excited to be part of a noble mission—educating students to become extraordinary people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Marrs Report, 2006

Hearing Loop Technology & Installation Methods Have Come a Long Way

Although Hearing Loop technology has been around for quite a while now, some people still have misperceptions that it doesn’t work well. The reason is that Hearing Loop systems of the past received a bad reputation, because of people not fully understanding the principles behind them.

We saw some people trying to install these systems in the early 60’s and 70’s, but at that time there were no real standards for installing them. There were cases where some installers were throwing down any kind of wire (like a telephone wire) as a “perimeter loop” around any size room, and hooking it up to any amplifier, and then trying to pass this off as a Hearing Loop system. This was wrong in so many ways!
As a result, people in the past with T-coil equipped hearing devices had to sit right next to the wall where the perimeter loop wire was to pick up any level of the audio at all, and yet at the middle of the room/facility they had no audio reception. People became frustrated and the general consensus about the technology was, “that it didn’t work.”  This earned Hearing Loop systems a bad reputation in the United States. In reality, it wasn’t the technology that was bad; it was a culmination of bad design, metal loss in the same physical plane of the loop, bad installation, and the wrong product selection. Unfortunately, some of these perceptions of these systems or, technology, still exist.
Obviously, you can’t just throw any equipment into a room and hope that it works. This is a point that we strive for people to understand. Attendees of our Listen Basic Hearing Loop Training (Level 1) Webinar have this basic understanding.  The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) IEC-60118-4:2006 standard for Hearing Loop systems is a result of ensuring that understanding.
The IEC 60118-4 provides a standard for system performance, specifies the use of the T-sign logo, and provides an expectation of quality. The standard of system performance specifically ensures that for each system there is:
1)      Low Electro-Magnetic Background Noise
2)      The Correct Field Strength
3)      Even Field Strength
4)      Flat Frequency Response
Listen Technologies offers our AV Dealers and Consultants a full One-Day Integration & Commissioning of Hearing Loop Systems (Level 2) class that takes participants through the steps required to properly install a Hearing Loop system. Participants will understand the following:
  • Loop systems principles.
  • Specification and design considerations of different kinds of loops systems – basic, advanced and phased-array.
  • Requirements of the international performance standard IEC60118-4.
  • Theory and hands-on practical experience of installing, setting up, testing and certifying a hearing loop system.
  • How to effectively set up and measure the system to meet the IEC60118-4 standard.
  • Certifying the system to the IEC60118-4 performance standard.
  • Working knowledge of the different types of test equipment and methods for proper use.
  • Good wiring practices and product placement.
  • How to troubleshoot various real-world challenges to minimize their impact on the system’s performance and utility.
  • Methods for performing site surveys for effective specification and installation of all types of hearing loops systems.
At the successful completion of this session and test, the participants will be certified as a Hearing Loop integrator capable of meeting the performance standard IEC60118-4.

Listen Technologies is proud of its partnership with the recognized world leader in Hearing Loop Technology, Ampetronic. The partnership allows Listen to distribute world-class technology and provide expertise in education and technical support to the growing number of North American based installers. To learn more about Hearing Loop Installation, I invite you to attend one of our Hearing Loop training courses.

Sam Nord of Listen Technologies Presents at the San Francisco Chapter of the HLAA

Recently, Sam Nord, the Territory Account Manager for California at Listen Technologies had the opportunity to give a presentation on Assistive Listening: ADA Compliance & Hearing Loop Technology to members of the San Francisco Chapter of the HLAA.

Sam’s presentation covered:
·  ADA Changes: What you need to know
·  Assistive Listening Devices in public venues
·  Trends in hearing aids
·  What venues need to know about people with hearing loss
·  Three types of assistive listening technologies (RF, IR and Hearing Loop)
·  Hearing Loop technology
·  Loop America Movement

One of the primary missions of the HLAA-CA is to educate people who have hearing loss, as well as their family members, friends, coworkers, teachers, and government representatives. As he was there to educate the members about Assistive Listening, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Hearing Loops, Sam’s presentation fit right in with their mission.

Of the many highlights at the event, Sam expressed particular excitement about the number of attendees. “I was very excited by the attendance at this event, which I was told was nearly double the usual attendance at these meetings. Clearly Hearing Loops are a hot topic of interest right now,” Nord stated.

Hearing Loops are gaining more popularity in the United States for a number of reasons. Firstly, more people have hearing aids that are equipped with t-coils making Hearing Loops the Assistive Listening technology of choice. People who have these types of hearing aids or cochlear implants don’t have to check out equipment that has been previously used by others; they can use their own devices.

Secondly, more people with hearing loss are demanding the technology. There are many Loop Movements, like the Loop Utah Movement, gaining momentum all over the country. “I was happy to learn that there are already the beginnings of a grassroots campaign in the area to get more and more facilities looped. There were non-HLAA members in attendance at this meeting who specifically came because they have had requests to put Hearing Loops in their facilities and wanted to learn more about what was required,” Nord said.

Finally, the number of qualified and certified Hearing Loop installers is growing in North America to meet the explosive demand for Hearing Loop systems. Throughout Europe Hearing Loops must be installed to the IEC Standard (IEC- 60118-4); integrators in the US are realizing that this quality standard is key to providing end users the best results. A properly designed, installed and operating Hearing Loop system delivers real tangible benefits to T-coil hearing aid users. It is a profound emotional experience. Proper training and certification to meet the IEC 60118-4 standard is critical to that experience.

Eventually, all of us will face issues surrounding hearing loss, whether it is our own or that of someone we love. Therefore, creating more awareness about these issues continues to be important for everyone. With double the attendance at his recent presentation in San Francisco, Sam helped build more awareness about some of these important topics.

If you know someone with hearing loss (or even if you don’t), we encourage you to become more aware of the ADA requirements for Assistive Listening and Assistive Listening Systems. You can do so by following our blog, visiting our resource pages on hearing loss advocacy and legislative compliance, joining your local chapter of the HLAA, help build the ALDLocatordatabase, or becoming an advocate in your area by starting a Loop Movement of your own.

Dr. Anne Lobdell Has a Hearing Loop Installed for Her Patients with Hearing Loss

In September, I had the opportunity to help kick off the Loop Utah Movement at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Festival in Salt Lake City. I’m happy to say, that in the weeks since our kick off, our movement is gaining momentum and we’re receiving support from local businesses, venues, and individuals.

As an audiologist and the Chair of the Loop Utah Movement, I decided to have a Hearing Loop installed in my office. The system, which was provided by Listen Technologies, transmits clear, amplified sound directly to the ears of my patients who have hearing aids with T-coils or cochlear implants.

The Hearing Loop was installed in my “fitting room” which is where my patients are fitted with hearing aids. This space allows them to experience the Hearing Loop right away and understand how the system can help them have better experiences at venues that offer this type of assistive listening technology.

Patients’ experiences have been overwhelmingly positive! After an in-office demonstration, patients become excited about the possibilities of how a Hearing Loop system could improve the quality of life on a daily basis. I have had patients state that they will be requesting this technology at every movie theatre they go to. One patient commented that she is tired of not understanding the dialog when she takes her granddaughters to movies. It limits her experience with her granddaughters when she is not able to connect with them about the movie. She feels like the Hearing Loop system would allow for a much-improved experience.

I also have a patient requesting that this technology be installed in her home so that she can actually hear her television shows from her favorite chair. Another patient has a spouse with a voice disorder. Her voice does not go above a whisper. Even with hearing aids, conversation is very difficult for them. An FM system was tried but did not work with their lifestyle. He was so pleased with how well he could hear her voice that he requested a portable Hearing Loop mat to take over to other family members’ homes.

Not only do new hearing aid and cochlear implant users get excited about the benefits of Hearing Loop systems, but those who have forgotten how much the technology can be of benefit to them get to experience it whenever they visit. With the in-office system, I am able to remind them of the benefits and improvements of the technology, as well as the need for continued advocacy to improve their listening environment throughout their community.

Having the Hearing Loop system available to demonstrate in the office allows my patients to have a greater understanding of just what it can do for them. I will often give a verbal description of the technology and the patients will nod with minimal enthusiasm, but once I have them listen through the Hearing Loop system with competing background noise in the office, the light bulb goes off. They are suddenly excited and animated about the possibilities the Hearing Loop can provide. So often after demonstrating the system patients remark how great this would have been when I was in court, or traveling, or in the hospital, etc.  It would be great to change “would have been” to “will be.”

For more information on Hearing Loops, click here. You can also join the Loop Utah Movement by visiting the Loop Utah Movement website at http://www.looputah.org/.
Dr. Anne Lobdell is a licensed Audiologist who has been practicing for over ten years. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Mississippi and her Doctorate in Audiology at the University of Utah. Her passion for Hearing Loop technology began early in her career when her grandmother explained how a Hearing Loop allowed her to continue to participate in church services. This made Dr. Lobdell wonder why the technology wasn’t available in more places. She enjoys all aspects of her job and strives to provide her patients with the highest quality of care.

Partnering with InfoComm to provide CTS Renewal Units

Listen Technologies has renewed its partnership with InfoComm and their CTS Renewal Units Program. This program allows over 9,000 professionals with InfoComm International’s Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) credentials to earn the renewal units they need in order to keep their certification. Specialists have the opportunity to earn four RU’s (Renewal Units) by completing Listen’s One-Day Integration & Commissioning of Hearing Loop Systems (Level 2) Class.

Through Listen’s Hearing Loop (Level 2) Class, AV Integrators and Consultants are trained to the high standards of the IEC 60118-4 specification, which is important to note, because Hearing Loops must be installed to this international standard in order for them to work at their highest performance level for signal strength and frequency response along with other criteria. If a technology doesn’t actually work for an end user, there’s really no point in installing it.

Our course includes an intensive full-day training session that takes people through understanding the technology along with the steps that are necessary to learn how to install a Hearing Loop system properly and to provide a Certificate of Conformity to the IEC 60118-4 standard. Those who attend these courses gain a hands-on practice of creating test loops, setting up, installing, and certifying a Hearing Loop system. They also learn the theories of why it is so important to install them properly. At the completion of the session and passing the final exam, participants will be certified as Listen Hearing Loop Level 2 Integrators making them capable of meeting the performance standards of the IEC 60118-4 standard that was mentioned above.

We are very pleased to be partnering with InfoComm to help AV Integrators and Consultants reach their CTS credentials. It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved. Not only do participants get to earn Renewal Units towards their CTS credentials from InfoComm, but we at Listen Technologies get to build more awareness about Assistive Listening Systems and Hearing Loops.

Keeping the Drama on Stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), located in Ashland, Oregon, is known for a lot of great things. They’re known for fantastic performances, Shakespearean or otherwise. They’re known for cultivating diversity and culture in Oregon. And they’re becoming synonymous with providing great experiences for all of their patrons.

The OSF is definitely committed to providing a great experience to all. They strive to make their facilities accessible to everyone by providing a variety of accommodations for persons with disabilities; this includes people with hearing loss. Not only do they provide patrons with assistive listening devices from Listen Technologies, but they also schedule certain performances with sign interpretation and open captioning.

Going to the theater when you can’t quite hear what the actors are saying can be an incredibly frustrating experience for someone with hearing loss. For example, experiencing any one of Shakespeare’s plays without the ability to hear his rich language would diminish any audience member’s enjoyment.  Can you imagine seeing Hamlet without being able to hear the famous “To be or not to be,” speech or watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream without hearing Puck pose his continually impish quips? It would be more tragic than King Lear!
Luckily, the OSF is taking a fresh approach to combining assistive listening and Shakespeare, so those with hearing loss can enjoy each and every soliloquy. With the use of Listen Technologies RF assistive listening equipment, the OSF provides its audience members the opportunity to experience the theater the way it should be experienced. This product allows the theater to wirelessly transmit audio from a fixed box to personal, portable receiver that an audience member uses like his or her very own private radio. This solution keeps all the tragedy on the stage, so that the audience members don’t have to miss out on experiencing the drama the way it should be experienced.

The OSF typically offers eleven different plays throughout its ten-month season. Although, their namesake is the Bard, the acting company also performs works by modern and contemporary playwrights. They also offer all kinds of classes, various artistic activities & events, and a Green Show before performances. This sort of drama is not to be missed.

Cooperating for Better Communication: Listen Technologies Helps Sponsor the Grand Prize for a Member of the League of California Cities

The League of California Cities is a an association of city officials who work together to enhance their skills, exchange information, and combine their resources, so that they can influence policy and decisions that affect cities throughout the State of California. All of its members have several things in common, of which the most important is conducting the business of government with effective communication, transparency, openness, respect, and civility.

So it’s no surprise that the League wanted to include Listen Technologies Interpretation products as their grand prize giveaway at their most recent expo and conference. Listen’s products not only allow city officials to better hear each other, but the products also allow concerned citizens and members of California communities to better hear proceedings in city meetings in their own language.

Linguistic Isolation

 

According to the Public Policy Institute of California 29% of immigrants live in households where no one older than the age 13 speaks English “very well.” Among households in California in linguistic isolation Spanish is the most common language spoken at 64%, followed by Chinese at 9%, and Vietnamese at 5%.
Including this kind of equipment from Listen Technologies definitely allows members of the League of California Cities to conduct their business with more transparency, respect, and civility, because it ensures everyone’s opportunity to hear in their own language.

Getting the Grand Prize

 

Every year, the League of California Cities gathers together for their annual expo and conference. This event features a series of discussions, keynote speakers, and breakout classes for all kinds of California city delegates and a huge show floor of exhibitors and a grand prize drawing at the end of the event. Along with Bill Feyling of Smart Cities Prevail, Listen Technologies was very proud to help sponsor the grand prize drawing at this event.
When the initial research was being done to see what prize should be given away at the expo, Rebecca Inman from the League of California Cities asked the League’s Legislative Director, Dan Carrigg, if he was aware of any products that all of the members could benefit from and find useful. Carrigg recommended to Inman that she reach out to the Institute for Local Government, because they own Listen Technologies devices and make them available to local agencies, use them at town hall meetings, and other various outreach programs. It seemed that Listen Technologies was the way to go! What city wouldn’t want a prize that could do all of that?
At this point, a questionnaire was sent out to city clerks and managers about the Listen equipment. Inman received a lot of positive feedback. She states, “Because the majority of city clerks and city managers responded with an overwhelming ‘yes’ to our related questionnaire, we solicited our exhibitors for its [the Listen equipment’s] sponsorship.”
One of the first partners the League reached out to was Bill Feyling of Smart Cities Prevail. As a Platinum Partner with the League of California Cities, Feyling thought that the equipment from Listen Technologies that Inman suggested was a great prize to offer. “The prize was very popular. We displayed it at our booth and we had a lot of people coming up to look at it,” Feyling said. “It was a practical thing for cities to have. It gives more access to people in different communities, especially with its ability to offer interpretation. We were excited to be part of the sponsorship.”
Once Inman and Feyling were on board, Cory Schaeffer, one of Listen’s Co-Founders and VP of Sales Worldwide, stepped in to help donate the rest of the equipment. “It was a great opportunity for Listen to help co-sponsor the grand prize giveaway for the League of California Cities with Smart Cities Prevail. Our Interpretation Systems are perfect for what a city needs, because they provide multiple uses. The city can use them as tour guide equipment, an assistive listening system, and of course, for language interpretation. We were very happy to be able to help provide this technology to a member of the League of California Cities.”
And that was that. With the co-sponsorship of Listen Technologies and Smart Cities Prevail, the League of California Cities had their grand prize for their expo.

And the Winner Is…

 

The winner was announced at the expo with the fanfare of a drum roll and we’re sure many applause. Who was the winner? The wonderful City of El Paso de Robles. We’d love to thank everyone involved in this great opportunity and send our congratulations to the City of El Paso de Robles. We hope you enjoy your Interpretation System from Listen Technologies and we’re certain that it will help you conduct your city business with more transparency, openness, respect, and civility.

Highlights in Houston with Mizzen Marketing

Listen Technologies was recently in Houston, Texas for Mizzen Marketing’s 4th Annual AV Expo. The event had many people in attendance over the two days who were very excited to view the products that Listen’s, Joel Motel, showcased. “Of the 31 vendors,” Motel states, “Listen was the only one that had two tables. We had so many products at the event that we needed two, eight-foot tables.” The products that were featured at the Mizzen event were Listen’s Wireless Conferencing, Digital Discussion, Portable RF, Stationary IR, and Hearing Loop.

Listen’s table featured the increasingly popular Jolene. She was designed using a fashion mannequin equipped with a sound level meter wired to a silicon ear, which measures the sound levels of personal sound systems. Her unique look always draws a crowd, whether she’s at an event like this one or visiting a school to help teach kids about noise-induced hearing loss.

The main Listen Technologies table also featured a Hearing Loop, which Motel was able to demonstrate to interested parties. He also conducted two presentations about the Hearing Loop during the event. The first of these presentations was an introduction to how Hearing Loop technology works—it uses a magnetic sound field that is directly transmitted to a user’s smart hearing aid (a hearing aid with a t-coil) or cochlear implants. This presentation was attended by a Houston audiologist, Dr. Paula Allison, who is a passionate advocate for Hearing Loop technology.  On the second day Motel gave a presentation on assistive listening and ADA compliance.

 

“One of the highlights of the event for me,” Motel concluded, “was having many of the attendees approach our tables and tell me that Listen was their go-to product for assistive listening and that they love the quality of our products.” We agree with Joel, this is definitely a highlight.
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