West River United Church is Looped


May 30, 2018.  The second church that participated in the week long Let’s Loop PEI Project, made possible due to a grant from the CHHA Foundation, was West River United Church in Cornwall, which decided to loop the entire sanctuary.  Like South Shore United Church, West River United Church had volunteers to help and they went through the same steps:

Step 1: The Field Survey

The church did its own field survey.

Step 2: The EMI Test

I did the EMI test, with assistance from Doug Aitken, who could explain any anomalies in the readings, such as where fluorescent lights were located in the basement.

Step 3: The Site Evaluation

Three volunteers participated in the site evaluation: Doug Aitken, Phil Pater, and Tom Barnes, under the watchful eye of Bill Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions.

CIMG0043 May 15 2018 site survey West River United Church Tom & Doug loop wires

Tom Barnes on left and Doug Aitken on right loop wires around the perimeter of the sanctuary for the temporary hearing loop. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)


Phil Pater with the spool of wire used in the temporary loop. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG0046 May 15 2018 site survey West River United Church Bill Phil Tom

Discussing the best loop driver to be used in West River United Church. Left to right: Bill Droogendyk, Phil Pater, Tom Barnes. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 5:  Wiring The Sanctuary

The dedicated volunteers at West River United Church decided to wire the sanctuary a few hours after the site evaluation.  They too were very careful in making sure the job was done correctly.  The sanctuary is carpeted, and Doug Aitken explained that after the wiring was put in, hours were spent ensuring that the wires were folded under the carpet so that no wiring was exposed.  They did a brilliant job.  You can’t see any trace of wiring!

Step 6:  Hooking the Loop Driver to the Sound System

After the wiring was done, the loop driver (amplifier) was hooked to the church’s sound system and calibrated to the IEC60118 standard for a compliant hearing loop.

The official testing of the hearing loop was done during a public information session, led by Rick Burger, Chair of the Worship Committee.  Members of the congregation were invited, as were members of our Chapter, and South Shore United Church.  Two members of the PEI Seniors Secretariat attended, at our invitation, as the Secretariat had sponsored the printing of information pamphlets.

The pamphlet explains the four ways you can access a facility that has a hearing loop installed – anywhere in the world. One way is to have a hearing aid or cochlear implant with a telecoil that’s been activated.  Second, special earbuds called OTOjOY work with a free app you can download on your iPhone.  Third, you can use a hearing loop receiver with headphones or earbuds.  Lastly there is a pocket talker with a telecoil built into it.  (See The Let’s Loop PEI Project – How You Can Access An Area With A Hearing Loop for this same information.)

During the information session, people could test the hearing loop in a short program that included both speech in the form of words of welcome from the church and our Chapter, plus music with singing and piano accompaniment.

The hearing loop worked well.  The audience included people who had telecoils activated in their hearing aids, as well as people with cochlear implants with the telecoils activated.  For one man, it was the first time the telecoil had been used since he received his hearing aids. The increase in sound volume was quite a shock for someone not used to hearing well.

Those without the luxury of hearing aids or cochlear implants with telecoils activated tried the hearing loop through receivers, OTOjOY earbuds, or pocket talkers, as we had brought a selection for people to try.  Unfortunately for the people who tried the pocket talkers, they didn’t have the best experience at first due to operator error.  We’d plugged the headphones into the microphones instead of the receivers!

CIMG0082 May 18 2018 West River United Church public info session Rick Burger sings

Rick Burger sings a solo during the public information session at West River United Church. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Angela Walker of CBC Radio’s Mainstreet also attended, and afterwards interviewed a number of people.  Here is the link to the radio interview.


Step 7:  Post Signage

The last step in the installation was to post signs advising that the hearing loop was installed.

Our thanks to the volunteers, CHHA Foundation, PEI Seniors Secretariat, and to Bill and Wilma Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions for making this installation possible.

Do you have an old hearing loop in your church?

Many PEI Churches were previously looped decades ago.  Several people commented that their church had an “old hearing loop” that either didn’t work, or no one knew what to do with, and asked if we could help get the hearing loops working again.  Many years ago, hearing loops had been installed by a group of volunteers, the Aliant Pioneers.  These loops were not done to international standards, because at the time there were no standards.  In some cases, the hearing loops are still in existence.  In other cases, they were torn out during renovations.

Churches in PEI with hearing loops done decades ago may wish to have their venues tested to see if they can meet the international IEC60118 standard for a compliant hearing loop. Hearing loops that meet the IEC60118 standard offer much greater sound clarity and uniform loudness throughout the looped area.

New technology for accessing the hearing loop means more people with hearing loss can benefit from a hearing loop.

Our Let’s Loop PEI story continues in the next blog posting.  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

Follow this link to our Upcoming Events page: Upcoming Events

Follow this link to places on PEI equipped with a hearing loop:  Places on PEI Equipped With A Hearing Loop

Like the work we do?  Consider a donation to help us do more.  100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.  We now have a page at the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708

 © Daria Valkenburg




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