Have you ever seen the word “loop” in movie theaters or venues and wondered what it meant? Loop technology is typically installed on the floor around the periphery of a room. It is made out of a thin strand of copper wire that radiates electromagnetic signals that are picked up by tiny receivers that are built into most hearing instruments and cochlear implants. When the hearing aid wearer turns on the receiver the hearing instrument only receives sounds coming from the microphone connected to the loop system and does not pick up the rooms ambient noises.
Think of it this way…you go to your favorite movie with your hearing instruments on. People around you are sipping soda, crunching on pop corn, the air conditioning rumbles, people are whispering, talking, and laughing, and on top of all of this, you are trying to pick up the words being said on the big screen. With the switch of the receiver, all of the sounds around you stop being amplified, and the hearing instruments only pick up the sounds coming directly from the movie.
Looping has been widely adopted in Northern Europe, and local advocacy groups are working to help make additions to public spaces here in the United States. As loops are installed in stores, banks, museums, subway stations and other public spaces, people who have felt excluded are suddenly back in the conversation. Learn more about the loop system, and what is currently being done to advocate for the addition of this technology in the New York Times article that was released this week.