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Trying Out Assistive Listening at Abravanel Hall

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a symphony concert at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. Since I work at Listen Technologies, I decided to seek out and use an assistive listening device to see what the process was like, as well as the listening experience. I found that they were available in one of the coat check locations on the main floor. There is a sign for assistive listening devices availability above the coat check window.

 

I checked out two units.One unit was for someone who has hearing loss to the point of not being able to hear conversations in a crowded, noisy environment. The other, I used to experience the product myself.

 

Check-out involved filling out a form in a 3-ring binder with my name, phone number, and the number of the unit, which was indicated by a number on a piece of tape on the device. Both were set to channel E and one had the belt clip missing. One set of headphones had cloth covers over the earpiece foam, while the other headphone had just the foam covers.

 

Instructions were given by the issuer as to how to turn the unit on and off and how to adjust the volume control. They also reminded me to return the units after the concert.

 

During the concert the device worked well. I could clearly hear the performer separate from the symphony and could adjust the volume control to achieve a good balance for my listening tastes. In this environment there was little to no background noise. The person with hearing loss said the device worked well and he enjoyed listening to the concert using it.

 

Whether you have hearing loss or not, I highly recommend checking out an assistive listening device next time you visit a public space like Abravanel Hall or something similar. It improved my experience, as well as the person with me. 

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.

Requesting and Using Assistive Listening Devices at Venues

Many people who experience hearing loss aren’t aware of assistive listening options that are available to them when attending concerts, museum exhibits , theater performances, lectures, sporting events in stadiums or ballparks, classes at school, etc,.

 
Under the 2010 changes to the American’s with Disabilities ACT (ADA), assistive listening devices are required by law at any venue that offers sound as part of their patron experience.  These venues have assistive listening systems available and they want their investments to be put to good use. 
 
The availability of the devices is indicted by signage which may look like:
 
 
Assistive listening devices can change a mediocre experience in a venue to an enjoyable one, as they bring the sound system source directly to the individual’s ear and elements the background noise in the venue.  Individuals deserve to hear clearly and to get what they came for while visiting these types of venues.
 
The below video demonstrates how you can know if a venue offers assistive listening devices, how to request them, and how to use these devices. Have a question about assistive listening? Let us know in your comments below. 
 

How To Use And Sanitize An Earspeaker

I recently attended a Women Tech Council event where attendees were able to tour the beautiful new Adobe building in Lehi, UT. We supported the event with a loaner equipment sponsorship of our portable RF equipment to ensure that not a single sound was missed.

Each tour member was given a receiver and an LA-164 ear speaker. The great thing about an ear speaker as opposed to traditional headphones is you can easily sanitize between uses. Additionally, it is only over one ear, allowing you to hear the audio while also being aware of your surroundings. The first time you put an ear speaker on it can be a little tricky, but once you see the proper position it’s easy!

This video shows just how easy it is to use and sanitize:

Tumbleweeds Film Festival

Nancy Eaves, Development Manager at the Utah Film Center approached Listen Technologies about providing our assistive listening devices for a unique application for the Tumbleweeds Film Festival for children and youth. 

Tumbleweeds has become the most noteworthy festival of its kind in the Intermountain West. The Utah Film Center puts on the film festival to provide access to children of all ages and all means to the art and impact of film and film-craft.
 
In its third year the Utah Film Center was planning for over 4,000 children, their families and educators to attend 20 public screenings of international films. Through the support of many sponsors free tickets were offered to organizations like the Neighborhood House, Sorenson Unity Center, Art Access/VSA of Utah, Boys & Girls Club, Guadalupe School, Neighborhood House, The Odyssey House, YWCA and Women’s Resource Center at the U of U to reach those that might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.
 
For many patrons this was their first experience with foreign films. English subtitles were provided for the various films but the Utah Film Center was faced with the challenge of some of the children either not being able to read yet or not as quickly as would be needed for the subtitles. Organizers wanted to ensure that all that attended would have an enhanced appreciation of foreign-language movies.
 
Their solution was to provider readers for the subtitles and use the same technology used for assistive listening for this application. Listen Technologies provided loaner equipment for this purpose.
 
The control rooms of the Black Box and Jeanne Wagner theaters at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center were each equipped with an LT-800 Stationary RF Transmitter for the reader. A LA- 278 Behind-the-Head Microphone was connected to the LT-800 transmitter via the LA-280 1/4 inch to 3.5 mm Microphone Adapter. The reader watched the movie through the control room window and simply read the subtitles as they appeared on the screen.
 
The children that needed to hear the narration picked up a Listen RF receiver from a festival volunteer before each screening and would hear the narration of the subtitle. Children could choose either a LA-165 Headphone or LA-164 Ear Speaker both options allowed the children to hear the narrator and the score and dialogue.
 
I attended the screening of ‘Zarafa’ an animated French film based on a true story of a 10-year old African boy and a giraffe that experience an adventure from desert sands to snowy mountains. While the intent of the receivers was for the children I found that I was able to watch the movie vs. read the movie. I found it to be very enjoyable and less distracting to watching a foreign film. I think it may be something the motion picture industry should consider for foreign films for audiences of all ages!

Multiple Identities at Hale Center Theater

 

This blog post has been re-purposed from a “Listen User Profile” of actual Listen customers detailing their experience with Listen Solutions.
The Hale Center Theater just outside of Salt Lake City had been filling its seats each night with the uproarious British farce, “One For the Pot.”
In this fast-moving tale of mistaken identity, one actor plays young Hickory Wood and his three identical quadruplets, each of whom is unaware of any others’ existence, but all of whom want to claim the inheritance of a rich business associate of their late father.

The delightful deceits of “Pot” require the actor who plays the young would-be heir and his siblings to make 50 entrances, speaking in four accents and portraying four different personas.
All went hilariously well at the Hale Center Theater until the main actor injured himself during one of the performances. The understudy, who had not had the chance to run through the whole show or even all of the scenes, was suddenly called into action.

“We felt this actor would end up playing the show with a script in hand so that we would be able to keep him straight,” said Michael Fox, the assistant box office manager at Hale Center. “We didn’t want to do it that way, of course.”

Fox said that’s when they remembered the Listen Technologies Corp. (ListenÆ) system for assistive listening that Hale Center uses to help patrons who are hard-of-hearing. The system transmitter plugs into the amplification system, with the sound wirelessly sent over FM radio waves to each patron wearing a discreet Listen battery-powered receiver and headset. They hear the sound clearly and without interference.

“We dreamed of a system that would allow our understudy to wear a listening device into which we could feed him his lines,” Fox said. “It would be akin to what a television news anchor wears on TV.” Fox called Listen, an international company that is headquartered near the Hale Center Theater in Sandy, Utah and a wireless audio system was delivered that afternoon.
Backstage that evening, the director was able to speak quietly into the Listen microphone, sending the signal to the actor wearing a tiny earpiece and wireless, concealable battery pack and receiver.
So while the four identical quadruplets and other parties to their folly became more confused as the play progressed, the actor himself was able to remain clear-headed and on cue, knowing his lines and proper identity were just a whisper away.

“Listen met all of our needs,” said Fox. And the show went on.

Providing Sound In Historical Funeral Home

Sound Advice of Lafayette, Indiana, was recently faced with a rather formidable challenge. The Butler Funeral Home in Rockville, Indiana, contacted Rodney J. Cowden and Michael J. Howe to help upgrade their sound system. Ordinarily, this is an easy task for the custom installation company, however Cowden and Howe discovered that this particular funeral home was in a converted mid 1800’s Victorian two-story mansion.
It boasted “tornado-proof” solid brick walls at least 18” thick. To make matters worse (from an installation standpoint) the owner had waited until remodeling of the structure was almost completed. Final paint, wallpaper and carpet were already in place. Cutting wire channels in the plaster was not an option; neither was surface mounted raceways. It was decided that a wireless audio system would be the best method of sound delivery, but the system would need to be utterly reliable, totally interference free, capable of adequate SPL [sound pressure level], not visually objectionable, and user friendly to operate.
 
Enter Listen Technologies Corp. With the help of Ken Voss (Online Marketing), Sound Advice received a demo unit in their shop for some rigorous testing. Cowden, Howe and their team’s initial tests of the product showed it to be interference free. They were also impressed with the knowledge that if there was a frequency noise problem at the funeral home, they could simply change the units to one of the other 57 available channels. In fact, they were so thrilled with the in-shop demo that they made a 1 ? hour trip to the funeral home with the product to show it off.
 
Sound coverage at Butler was excellent. And just as important, the owner liked the appearance of the products. Like many of Sound Advice’s clients, Butler Trustee Rodger Davies was initially very concerned with how the system would visually impact the surrounding environment; nevertheless, Davies placed his trust in Sound Advice to handle the aesthetics and to make sure the system performed.
 
Impressed by the demo, ten LR-600 Wireless Speaker / Receivers, one LT-800 Stationary Transmitter, two LA-316 Expansion Speakers and an LA-122 Universal Antenna Kit was ordered and installed with the Butler Funeral Homeis Yamaha tuner and a Superscope PAC750 combination cassette/CD and mixer. An Audio- Technica UHF wireless handheld microphone and lavaliere and Hammond organ were also connected to the mixer. The output of the Superscope PAC750 is fed to the input of the LT- 800 transmitter.
 
The LR-600 Wireless Speaker / Receivers were strategically placed throughout both stories of the funeral home and in a nearby unattached garage. With only minor adjustments for tone and volume made, the overall performance of the entire system proved to be exceptional, with no glitches. One of the LA-316 Expansion Speakers was placed on the front porch, the other on the rear porch – areas that are occasionally used for overflow with large funerals.
 
“This particular installation could not have been accomplished without Listen’s exceptional products,” said Cowden. Sound Advice, Inc. is a custom installation company offering many services, including custom design, installation and integration of music and video distribution, system automation, home theatre lighting, furniture and equipment, HDTV, DSS satellite, phone systems, networking, security and commercial sound. Sound Advice has enjoyed more than 13 years of business and has developed close working relationships with many local builders and cabinet-makers. Though small, their staff has close to 100 years of collectiveexpertise helping clients through the process of aesthetically integrating audio and video into their home or business in a user-friendly fashion, something especially important with the new technologies that are available but are frequently misunderstood. Listen designs and manufactures wireless devices to help people hear better. Originally primarily known for assistive listening devices for the hard-of-hearing, Listen products are now used around the world for language interpretation, tour guide systems and sound field applications.
 
Listen’s transmitters send a clear, clean audio signal to individual receivers equipped with earphones. Or for sound field applications, Listen has multiple stationary receiver products to meet the needs of end-users. Listen is dedicated to providing products to help people hear and understand, and thereby have their lives enriched. For details on Listen products, visit https://www.listentech.com on the web. Or for more information about Sound Advice, Inc. go to http://www.soundadviceinc.com
This blog post has been re-purposed from a “Listen User Profile” of actual Listen customers detailing their experience with Listen Solutions.

WIN Stadium Gets A Sound Makeover

Rechristened as WIN Stadium, following corporate sponsorship, Wollongong Showground is a rectangular multi-purpose stadium in Wollongong, which regularly hosts the St George Illawarra ‘Dragons’rugby league matches. The stadium boasts a capacity of 23,000.


LOCATION
Wollongong

CUSTOMER BRIEF

Public Address system for sports announcements, commentaries, BGM and paging. The Western Grandstand is also home to two new 400 person function rooms
 
NOISEBOX SOLUTIONS
Two rows of speakers installed into the roof canopy provide coverage of the seated audience areas.
 
‘Of all the 12-inch speakers on the market, there was only one that was powerful and lightweight enough to fit the bill and that was the EV ZX3 speaker system.’
 
As systems integrator, Noisebox installed the 24 white ZX3 cabinets from the top of the canopy, by suspending the speakers from single points into cut out templates before adjusting their angles and fixing into position. The entire loudspeaker system is powered by six Dynacord H-5000 multi-channel amplifiers, whilst an EV Netmax N-8000 system controller provides complete system management including routing, DSP, system control and supervision. At the insistence of the local council, a Drawmer SP2120 processor provides speaker limiting so that the stadium sound does not exceed imposed limits in the surrounding neighborhood.
 
win-stadium-west-standThe West Stand is also home to two new function rooms, which are used for game days in addition to corporate conferences, weddings and parties. Processed by an EV Netmax N-8000 processor, two EV CPS4.5 amplifiers power the EviD C8.2 ceiling speakers in these zones. An AMX NI-4100 processor provides complete remote control via a tablet, including Panasonic Blu-Ray DVD playback, whilst a lectern loaded with A/V equipment has been installed with an EV RE90P microphone. Four channels of RE2 wireless microphones have also been installed into the venue to enhance the facility’s functions.
 
Hearing Augmentation in this type of environment cannot be serviced by tradition loop design nor IR technologies. Noisebox investigated an RF solution utilizing the Listen product from the US. A single di pole antenna strategically positioned within the Grandstand successful delivers 100% coverage to the 7000 capacity audience. The success of this deployment was outstanding and confirms to AV professionals that the most successful solutions are the most elementary in their execution.
 
About Noisebox
Based in Sydney, with contractors nationwide, Noisebox Integrated Technologies is a privately owned, full service audiovisual product and services provider. Noisebox’s integration division is one of the best-trained teams in the industry, providing custom design and installation services to network operation centers, government chambers, boardrooms, meeting rooms, computer classrooms, and distance learning facilities.
This blog was originally posted at http://noisebox.com.au/case_study/stadiums

A New Day at Caesar’s Palace

Caesar’s Palace is home to one of the newest and most elaborately constructed theaters that is devoted to a single show. The Colosseum is a 4,100 seat theater and home to the new show featuring one of the world’s top selling female recording artists, Celine Dion. 

Construction of the $95 million theater began in Spring of 2001 and was completed when the show opened in March of 2003. “A New Day” was created by Franco Dragone, known for his work with Cirque du Solei. The 58 member cast performs on a 22,450 square foot stage with a state of the art sound and video system. Outside Caesar’s Palace is a giant 120 foot Mitsubishi LED wall marquee. In the theater, the show takes advantage of a video wall made up of 12 50-inch video cubes behind the stage, a state of the art 5.1 Meyer Sound System, and a Listen Technologies Corporation assistive listening system.
Listen products are ideal for the Grammy Award winner’s live performance. With a Listen LT-800 Stationary Transmitter installed with the main sound system, guests use individual LR-400 Display Receivers to hear the audio anywhere in the theater. Guests simply check out a receiver from guest services free of charge and find their seats. The units are electronically locked on channel, so the guest simply puts on the earphones and adjusts the volume to a comfortable level.
 
Listen products are widely used for live performances, theater productions, and other presentations due to its exceptional audio quality, ease of use, and simple maintenance. For more information on Listen products and their applications, check the web site at https://www.listentech.com

This blog post has been re-purposed from a “Listen User Profile” of actual Listen customers detailing their experience with Listen Solutions.

Blue Angels Air Show Soars With Sound

Every year the Navy’s Blue Angels put on an air show at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, located in northern San Diego County, California. Their breathtaking flight demonstrations are performed with music and narration on the ground, creating an interesting challenge for any public address system. Thanks to San Diego-based Listen dealer Tri-Media Pro Sound, there’s been no problem hearing what’s happening on the ground amid the roar of the F/A-18 Hornets overhead.


The show at MCAS Miramar is the largest military air show in the country, with more than 500,000 spectators in attendance over a three-day period. The primary spectator seating area covers 3800 linear feet, with another 600-foot area behind the grandstands.
 
The air base sends the project out for bid each year. For the past two years the contract was awarded to
Tri-Media, which supplied the Listen equipment through their rental division, an ideal arrangement for both entities.
 
“Tri-Media [has] provided better-quality equipment and services for the same price [we’d paid others],” said Lieutenant Colonel USMC (Ret), Edwin Downum, the air show’s coordinator, who indicated that a major challenge for the event is having cable on the ground. “It can be a trip hazard in high-traffic areas,” he said.
Tri-Media’s solution was simple: a wireless RF setup, with a Listen
LT-800 Stationary FM Transmitter, LA-107 Ground Plane Remote Antenna, and LR-100 Stationary Receiver/Power Amplifier feeding into speakers.
 
Downum found that the Listen equipment delivered consistently high-quality sound, easily reaching beyond the grandstands to spectators walking around the displays and entering the gates to the flight line. With most systems, one would expect sound coverage like that to require volume levels so high that those sitting closest to the speakers would be less than comfortable. According to Downum, that’s just not so with Listen’s system, resulting in excellent customer satisfaction.
 
“We received outstanding support and excellent sound equipment,” said Downum, who added, “Tri-Media Pro Sound was outstanding, setting up, operating and tearing down the equipment in a professional and timely manner.”
 
The project is going out for bid again, and there’s no doubt it will be hard to match the quality and value provided by Listen equipment and Tri-Media.
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