VIRGINIA BEACH — Those who are hard of hearing will now have the option to use a new, state-of-the-art Hearing Loop Listening Assistance System when they visit the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts.
The system was donated by the Norfolk Sertoma Club, according to a news release from the Sandler Center.
The Hearing Loop will allow customers to experience Sandler Center events better than ever before by providing the clearest, cleanest sound available with today’s technology while making events more accessible for people with hearing loss or difficulty, according to the center.
According to HearingLoop.org, the Sandler Center is one of only five performing arts centers/theaters in the state with this technology.
Virginia Stage Company installed a Loop Listening System in the Wells Theatre in downtown Norfolk in early 2017.
A Hearing Loop is the only system that sends the voices of the performers and instruments from the microphones on stage directly into the hearing aid, cochlear implant, or headphones of an audience member.
Officials at the Sandler Center said patron Donna Edwards, who is legally deaf in both ears, tested the system in January and had this to say about her experience: “Exceptional. I did not expect it to be that good. From the moment I put the earpieces in, I could hear. It was a joy to be able to hear all the words.”
The Hearing Loop is available during all events in the Sandler Center’s main performance hall.
How it works
The Hearing Loop works by sending out a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by a hearing aid when it is set to the “T” or telecoil setting.
A patron can tune into the Hearing Loop by flipping the switch on his or her hearing aid to the T-coil program.
If a patron does not have a hearing aid or the hearing aid does not have a T-coil, the Sandler Center has a limited number of headphone units available on a first-come, first-served basis that also tunes into the Hearing Loop.
Patrons with a legal ID can borrow a headset from coat check during the performance, according to the center.
Patrons who are unsure about their hearing aid’s T-coil settings should check with their audiologist or hearing care provider.
Most hearing aids have the T-coil function, but it may need to be activated by an audiologist.