Very recently, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Certified Access Specialist Institute (CASI) in California. CASI is devoted to influencing positive change through awareness and proactive adaptation in building access. As one of the Co-Founders of Listen Technologies and a passionate advocate for Assistive Listening, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance, and for people with hearing loss, this was a wonderful opportunity to build awareness.
Most of us do not have hearing loss, yet people assume that if someone has a hearing aid that their hearing is somehow magically restored.
For people with hearing loss, the solution is not just about increasing the volume of a sound, it is also about intelligibility. Consider the following:
· Hearing loss is an invisible disability, which evokes little sympathy.
· With normal hearing, all vowels and consonants are audible; with hearing loss, this is not always true.
· Many people with hearing loss can hear, but they have difficulty understanding because they cannot quite hear all consonants.
· Hearing aids are useful in quiet situations, but they have been designed to amplify sound in large public spaces.
· Most public spaces do not have optimum acoustics. They have high ceilings, air conditioning systems, lots of background noise, and reverberations. Hearing aids do not filter any of this. They amplify it.
People who have hearing loss want and deserve to go out and do the things they enjoy, whether that is going to the ballpark, theater, concerts, or weekly worship services. Doing what you love continually enriches your life and hearing what you love is part of this. If people understood how simple it is to use an Assistive Listening System or how simple it is to provide them, they would grasp how much better their listening lives could be. It is as easy as putting on a pair of glasses. This is where the importance of Assistive Listening Systems comes into the picture.