More Info On Hearing Loop Access at Charlottetown City Hall

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June 17, 2018.  An excellent article, ‘City of Charlottetown improves access at City Hall for people with hearing loss’ by Dave Stewart of The Guardian was recently published in the newspaper.  (See http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/city-of-charlottetown-improves-access-at-city-hall-for-people-with-hearing-loss-218999/).

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Rachel McPhee, left, receptionist at City Hall in Charlottetown, talks to Brenda Porter, a member of the city’s board of persons with disabilities, about the new looping technology installed in the building. (Photo credit: Dave Stewart of The Guardian)

You can see in the above photo that the sign for disability access includes the universal symbol indicating that there is a hearing loop installed.  The ‘T’ on the bottom right stands for ‘telecoil’.

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As word spread of the city’s initiative, a wish list for more hearing loop access in public venues began, with the airport, hospital, and theatres top of the list.  Joan Gallant commended Charlottetown’s Mayor: “Congratulations to Clifford Lee for seeing the importance of looping City Hall. Next I would like to see Homburg Theatre looped!! The more public places looped, the more those of us who are hard of hearing will be able to take part and contribute to our communities.”  We can only hope that interest in hearing loop access will grow!

If you do not have a telecoil activated in your hearing aid or cochlear implant, talk to your audiologist.  As Brenda Porter noted in the interview with Dave Stewart “…the sound is clear and crisp. It’s as if I didn’t have any hearing loss. You can come in (to council chambers) and as long as you have a certain component in your hearing aid activated, you don’t have to put on a headset or put on a necklace or do anything that announces to the world that ‘Hey, I’m hard of hearing’.’’

If you have hearing loss, but don’t wear a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant, you can still access a hearing loop by other assistive listening devices.  See our previous posting The Let’s Loop PEI Project – How You Can Access An Area With A Hearing Loop for more information.

Have you used a hearing loop?  Share your experience and help build awareness so more places on PEI can be looped. You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

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

Don’t forget about our upcoming meeting, the last one before the summer break:  Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian ChurchGuest speaker:  Dr. Michael Corman, Principal Advisor Senior’s Health at PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness, will give an update on the new Seniors Strategy for PEI.  Our chapter participated on the consultation committee for this strategy.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and make your voice heard as the Action Plan for the Seniors Strategy is developed.

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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Spring 2018 Level I Speechreading Graduates

June 16, 2018.  The Spring 2018 Level I Speechreading course was successfully completed by 5 participants, who received their certificates:  David Bruce, Gerry Gray, Gillian Hutchings, Louise Larkin, and Wayne MacNeill.  Congratulations to them, and to instructor Nancy MacPhee for a successful session.

Speechreading Level 1 Spring 2018 graduates

Spring 2018 Level I Speechreading graduates. Left to right: Gerry Gray, Gillian Hutchings, David Bruce, Wayne MacNeill (missing: Louise Larkin) (Photo credit: Nancy MacPhee)

Did you know that speech reading can have a beneficial effect on your brain and your ability to hear, especially with a cochlear implant?  (See https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-brain-responses-lip-reading-benefit-cochlear.html)

This session’s participants were asked for their comments on the course.  Here is a sample:

  • I think this is a valuable course even for someone who hears.  It helps one understand those who do have a hearing problem.
  • Excellent program.
  • Amazing teacher.  Well designed course and well designed classes – lots of variation.

David Bruce shared his impression of the course and was frank about the challenges he faced in learning the new skill of speechreading:  “Instructor Nancy MacPhee can only be considered exceptional.  The delivery of the course from someone with her knowledge of this subject was a plus for me from Day One.

My hearing aid provider informed me during my last visit that that she could not do much more for my right ear and that my left one was getting weaker.  She suggested that I consider taking a speechreading course in the near future, and down the road to look into a cochlear implant. 

The presentations and supplied material provided me with a much expanded understanding of hearing problems and how to personally cope with it.

I found speechreading very difficult.  I gained many clues but see a difficult learning period ahead.  More practice and more courses to come.

I can and will recommend this course to all hearing concerned individuals.”

We all use speechreading to some extent in our daily lives, whether we have hearing loss or not.  Try your own skills with the video included in this article from Great Britain….. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/features/the_lip_reading_challenge.shtml!

The next session of speechreading Level I begins this fall.  If you are interested in being on the contact list, send us an email at hearpei@gmail.com.  What will you learn?  Nancy MacPhee advises that “Level 1 introduces the most visible spoken consonants, as well as thematic groups, such as colours and numbers. Students practice with phrases in class groups as well as with the instructor. General info on hearing loss, as well as coping and communication strategies, are covered.

Have you taken a speechreading class?  Share your experience and help encourage others to learn this valuable skill. You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

A few places on PEI now have a hearing loop installed.  Follow this link to places on PEI equipped with a hearing loop: Places on PEI Equipped With A Hearing Loop

Several lawyers on PEI have a pocket talker on hand as a convenience for their clients with hearing loss.  Follow this link for a list: PEI Lawyers With Pocket Talkers

Don’t forget about our upcoming meeting, the last one before the summer break:  Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian ChurchGuest speaker:  Dr. Michael Corman, Principal Advisor Senior’s Health at PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness, will give an update on the new Seniors Strategy for PEI.  Our chapter participated on the consultation committee for this strategy.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and make your voice heard as the Action Plan for the Seniors Strategy is developed.

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

 

The ‘Pardon Me, What Did You Say?’ Presentation At Andrews of Charlottetown

June 9, 2018.  On June 7, 2018, we were invited to give a presentation on the booklet ‘Pardon Me, What Did You Say?’, giving tips on better communication with people who have hearing loss, at Andrews of Charlottetown, a seniors home that offers independent living, community care, and nursing care options.

The booklet was a project from last year, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons For Seniors Program, written by members of our Chapter, and illustrated by artist Wayne Wright.

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Brenda Porter addresses audience at Andrews of Charlottetown. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Five residents came to the presentation, along with a staff complement of 14.  This was the first time staff had attended a presentation.

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Some of the staff members at Andrews of Charlottetown that attended the presentation. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

After the presentation, one of the residents commented that he never could understand what was being said in his church in Cornwall but now he can hear everything clear as a bell.  He was referring to West River United Church, which had been looped a few weeks earlier as part of the Let’s Loop PEI project.  (See West River United Church is Looped).  He was accessing the hearing loop using a hearing loop receiver, and said he was planning to speak with his audiologist to have a telecoil activated in his hearing aids.  Good for him!

This got people talking about how difficult it was to hear presentations at Andrews, as there is a coffee are adjacent to the room, and people have difficulty hearing over the background noise.  A hearing loop would solve that problem, as anyone listening to the presenter in an area that has been looped would hear only what comes out of a microphone.

A hearing loop is a great solution that would allow everyone in a noisy room to hear and focus on activities such as bingo, a performance, play, or speech.  One never knows how many ripple effects this resident’s positive experience at his church will have!

Our thanks to Kathy Ready, Program Coordinator at Andrews of Charlottetown, for inviting us.  Thanks also to Brenda Porter, Nancy MacPhee, and Daria Valkenburg for volunteering at this event.

Have you tried out a hearing loop?  Please share your experience.  You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

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

Don’t forget about our upcoming meeting, the last one before the summer break:  Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 9:30 am at North Tryon Presbyterian ChurchGuest speaker:  Dr. Michael Corman, Principal Advisor Senior’s Health at PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness, will give an update on the new Seniors Strategy for PEI.  Our chapter participated on the consultation committee for this strategy.

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

 

Charlottetown City Hall is Looped

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June 6, 2018.  The Let’s Loop PEI Project, made possible due to a grant from the CHHA Foundation, had a third site participating – the City of Charlottetown.  The city decided to loop the public portion of its council chambers, as well as the reception desk.  Also on the list for hearing loop access is the billing counter.

Mayor Clifford Lee commented in a recent press release. “We are proud to be involved in the Let’s Loop PEI project, becoming the first municipality in the province to take this step and make the public spaces at City Hall more accessible to people with hearing loss,” said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. “Our Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities, which we created in 2005, has been working with us each year to find more ways to provide equal service and access to all. On behalf of City Council, I commend them for the work they do and would like to thank them for encouraging us join forces..

We are grateful to the city for stepping forward immediately upon hearing of this project.  It’s never easy to be first!

The City of Charlottetown went through the same steps as South Shore United Church and West River United Church:

Step 1: The Field Survey

The City of Charlottetown did its own field survey.

Step 2: The EMI Test

Pieter Valkenburg did the EMI (electromagnetic interference) test of the council chambers, carefully noting placement of every microphone and TV connection, anything that might cause interference.

CIMG9990 Apr 30 2018 Pieter by wall with high EMI City of Ctown Council chambers

Pieter Valkenburg at Charlottetown city hall council chambers. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 3: The Site Evaluation

Phil Pater and Tom Barnes, along with Bill and Wilma Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions, did the site evaluation. John Donahoe, the city’s IT consultant was an interested observer and participated in some of the training sessions.

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Tom Barnes, with John Donahoe in the background. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

 CIMG0033 May 15 2018 Site survey city of Charlottetown council chambers John Donohue Bill Wilma

Left to right: John Donahoe, Bill Droogendyk, Wilma Droogendyk. Careful measurements spell success! (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)
CIMG0042 May 15 2018 Site survey city of Charlottetown council chambers Phil & Wilma

Testing testing testing! Phil Pater and Wilma Droogendyk. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 5:  Wiring The Council Chambers

As Charlottetown’s city hall is a historic building from 1888, designated as a National Historic Site of Canada on November 23, 1984, it was important to ensure that no trace of the wiring showed, and none does.  It’s hidden under the carpet.

CIMG0071 May 18 2018 loop installation at City of Charlottetown town hall Phil & Tom in council chambers

Phil Pater and Tom Barnes wired the council chambers. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 6:  Hooking the Loop Driver to the Sound System

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

An informal testing was done by members of the Civic Board for Persons with Disabilities.  Brenda Porter, who is on this board, and has hearing aids with telecoils, commented on the clarity of sound and that there was no background noise to interfere with what was being said.

The city notes that “The next public meeting of Council is on Monday, June 11 at 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend, including anyone interested in trying the new hearing loop.” (See https://charlottetown.ca/news/current_news/access_improved_at_city_hall)

Step 7:  Post Signage

The last step in the installation was to post signs advising that the hearing loop was installed.  A brochure on the ways to access a hearing loop was provided.  (See The Let’s Loop PEI Project – How You Can Access An Area With A Hearing Loop for this same information.)

The Counter Loop

The City of Charlottetown went further than looping the council chambers, by deciding to install a counter loop at the reception desk and billing desk.  While work is still progressing on the counter loop at the billing desk, the counter loop at the reception desk is installed.

CIMG0040 May 15 2018 Site survey city of Charlottetown council chambers Bill shows counter loop to John & Jennifer

ohn Donahoe and Jennifer Gavin of the City of Charlottetown look at a sample counter loop for the billing desk with Bill Droogendyk. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG0078 May 18 2018 loop installation at City of Charlottetown town hall reception desk Annie Lee tests loop

Annie Lee MacDonald tests out the counter loop at the reception desk, using OTOjOY earbuds and an app on her iPhone. Tom Barnes, Bill Droogendyk, and receptionist Darlene Rice wait for her reaction. Success! (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Our thanks to the volunteers, CHHA Foundation, City of Charlottetown, and to Bill and Wilma Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions for making these installations possible.

You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

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

 

Successful Ceilidh Raised Funds for Activities Not Covered By Grants

June 4, 2018.  The Second Annual Bonshaw Ceilidh on May 27, 2018, with half the proceeds going to help fund activities not covered by grants was a success.  For those of us with hearing loss, this ceilidh was doubly successful.  Not only will the money help in our ongoing activities, enabling us to accept speaking engagements, provide printed materials, set up booths at conferences, and pay for things like our banner, which you can see in the photo below, it also provided us an opportunity to listen to live music and have a great afternoon.

Photos: Tony Reddin of Bonshaw Hall with Annie Lee MacDonald onstage by our banner on the left, and Annie Lee MacDonald being presented with half of the proceeds by Tony Reddin on the right.  (Photo credits: Daria Valkenburg)

Many of us with hearing loss no longer listen to music, as we once may have done.  It doesn’t sound the same anymore.  One person with a cochlear implant told me that a piano sounds ‘tinny’.  Some of us don’t hear high frequencies, others have difficulty hearing low frequencies.  Hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other hearing assistive devices focus on helping discern speech.  Speech and music are different, making it a challenge.

As more musicians become open about their own hearing loss, technology is working to overcome these challenges. One of the recommended tips is to keep listening!  See https://www.hearinglikeme.com/tips-to-enjoy-music-after-hearing-loss/ for an interesting article.

Entertainers who volunteered their time and talent on a sunny Sunday afternoon featured Island Girls, David MacKay with friend Peter Holden, and Evan Martin.  During the Open Mike session, Ross and Sheila Harrington played a tune.

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Island Girls. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

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David MacKay on left, accompanied by Peter Holden. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

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Evan Martin. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

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Ross & Sheila Harrington. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

This event came about from a proposal by Marion Toole to the organizers of the Bonshaw Ceilidh.  Marion, one of our members, is a volunteer with Bonshaw Hall.  A big thank you goes out to her, to organizer Tony Reddin, the musicians who generously gave up their Sunday afternoon to come out, and to all who attended.

CIMG0123 May 27 2018 Bonshaw ceilidh

Members and partners. Left to right: Gerry Gray, Brenda Porter, Marion Toole, Daria Valkenburg, Gie Rogers, Nancy MacPhee, Annie Lee MacDonald. (Photo credit: Marion Copleston)

If you missed the ceilidh but would like to give a donation, we now have a page at the Canada Helps website:  https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708.  100% of your donation stays on PEI to help Islanders.

You can email us at hearpei@gmail.com or comment on this blogYou can also follow us on Twitter: @HearPEI

© Daria Valkenburg

 

An Information Session On Hearing Loops With Audiologists

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June 1, 2018.  At part of the launch of the Let’s Loop PEI Project, made possible due to a grant from the CHHA Foundation, Island audiologists were invited to an informal session to introduce the project and to discuss hearing loops with Bill Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions.

We were delighted at the response.  Five professionals from PEI, from 4 firms, attended:  Peter Benstead of PEI Audiology, Krista Campbell of Campbell Hearing, Derek Hughes of Connect Hearing, Michael and Lynn Learie of Horizon Hearing.  In addition, Heidi Eaton of Argus Audiology in New Brunswick made the trip over the Confederation Bridge to attend this session.

CIMG0066 May 17 2018 Audiologists session on hearing loops at Holiday Inn Express Ctown Christa Derek Peter Michael

Left to right: Krista Campbell, Derek Hughes, Peter Benstead, Michael Learie. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

It was a chance to network, as well as to learn more about hearing loops.  One issue we had run into was discussed.  Two people told us that their audiologists had told them that they could have BlueTooth OR a Telecoil in their hearing aids, but not both.  We weren’t sure if that was a miscommunication, but since we’d read in various articles that in fact a person can have all kinds of programs in their hearing aids, including BlueTooth, Telecoil, and Tinnitus Masking, it was a good opportunity to bring it up and have it confirmed.  For more information on this subject, here is a link to an article written by American audiologist Juliette Sterkens: https://loopwisconsin.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/ready-to-buy-a-new-hearing-aid-be-sure-it-includes-bluetooth-and-telecoil-technology/

Heidi Eaton also let us know that a telecoil is usually included in the ‘streamers’ that come with a hearing aid.  A streamer is designed to pick up audio signals, turning a hearing aid into a wireless headset.  It’s worn around the neck and has buttons for phone, TV, and microphone applications.

Everyone sat around a table that was inside a temporary hearing loop, and each person had a chance to try out a hearing loop receiver to test the clarity of sound.  After letting us know that he’d written an article on hearing loops that had been published in Canadian Audiologist magazine, Bill later shared it with us.  (See http://canadianaudiologist.ca/breaking-the-2-meter-hearing-bubble/)

We shared our pamphlets on various initiatives we’re involved in, including on hearing loops, plus the tip sheet on activating a telecoil in a hearing aid, which was shared with blog readers in a previous posting.  In case you missed it: audiologists info on t-coil connectivity

CIMG0065 May 17 2018 Audiologists session on hearing loops at Holiday Inn Express Ctown Heidi

Photo: Heidi Eaton. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

A day after the session for audiologists, Dr Heidi Eaton emailed us, explaining that she had planted a seed for hearing loops in Moncton.  “I attended the State of the City of Moncton address today.  There were approximately 150 in attendance, including a number of city councillors. The mayor talked a lot about a Youthful City, low cost of housing, quality of life, downtown Center and growth, proximity to beaches. 

During question period, I discussed the Senior Friendly initiative of the city and asked how the city plans to ensure all of the population is able to enjoy the flourishing downtown culture.  I specifically asked, as an audiologist, the plan for accessibility for the Hard of Hearing population.  I asked about loop systems (i.e at the new Events Center and the Capital Theatre) that are, on the large scale, inexpensive.

After the meeting, the Mayor asked me for information at which time I was able to hand over the loop information pamphlets.  The mayor introduced me to the city manager.  I handed him the same material and offered to connect him with those in the know and to offer support.  There was discussion of sitting on accessibility committee.  The mayor asked to have lunch and discuss this further. All in all, positive.”  Well done, Heidi!  How exciting that the City of Moncton is also considering hearing loops for their public facilities! We wait to hear more about her initiative.

We thank these hearing professionals who took time out of their busy lives to attend this session.  Meanwhile, our Let’s Loop PEI story continues.  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

 

 

West River United Church is Looped

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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)

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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.

http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/mainstreet-pei/segment/15546716

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

 

 

South Shore United Church is Looped

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May 24, 2018.  When the Let’s Loop PEI Project began, we had no idea what was needed to loop a building.  We only knew that hearing loops worked and would be of use to a number of people.  Not surprisingly, churches were receptive to the idea of a hearing loop.  Many have parishioners with hearing loss who have either stopped making the effort to come to church due to difficulties in hearing, or do come to church but are unable to follow the service.

Many churches have excellent sound amplification systems.  Sadly, for people with severe hearing loss, the best sound system still won’t help with clarity and the ability to understand what is being said. Louder doesn’t mean better!  Some churches provide copies of the sermon to those with hearing loss, others have presentations on a screen.  There had to be a better solution, thought a number of churches.

After we received a grant from the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA) Foundation to pay the travel costs of bringing in expertise to train volunteers in how to loop their facility to an international standard IEC60118 compliant hearing loop’, we contacted a few places to gauge their interest in participating, willingness to provide volunteers to do the work under supervision, and willingness to pay the installation costs of the materials needed to loop a venue.  Bill Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions agreed to provide the expertise.

South Shore United Church in Tryon was willing to participate, had two volunteers – Jack Sorensen and Pieter Valkenburg – and the funding to pay their installation costs.  This posting summarizes the steps taken from conception to completion.

Step 1: The Field Survey

The church was sent a sheet in which questions about the site were asked, including the floor plan, building dimensions, building construction information, ceiling height and construction, whether seating was fixed or moveable, location of sound system, and types of microphones used.

On a cold day in March, the two volunteers and I met to complete this survey.

CIMG9889 Mar 18 2018 view of pews from stage proposed loop area is on right SSUC sanctuary

Daria Valkenburg with Jack Sorensen in South Shore United Church. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Step 2: The EMI Test

A test for electromagnetic interference (EMI) was next, and done twice in April.  Bill explained that “EMI is essentially noise, typically heard as a hum that just sits in the background. If it’s excessive (> -32dB), it’s annoying and causes the hearing loop installation to not comply with the IEC standard. In such cases, the loop itself would be quite fine but the facility itself fails to meet the standard.

First, Brenda Porter, whose hearing aids have activated telecoils, came and checked whether she heard any hums or other noises when the electrical equipment and sound system were turned on.  No noise, which was a good sign.

CIMG9949 Apr 10 2018 Jack and Brenda at SSUC testing T switch

Jack Sorensen with Brenda Porter during the EMI test using the telecoils in her hearing aids. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Bill sent us a device for a more accurate test of electromagnetic interference, so a few weeks later, volunteer Pieter Valkenburg tested the church.  The test confirmed Brenda’s experience of no sound interference.

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Pieter Valkenburg doing EMI test at South Shore United Church. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 3: The Site Evaluation

In May, Bill Droogendyk arrived on the island, and did the formal site evaluation with a group of volunteers. Wires were temporarily strung in the area to be looped, while testing was done.  Bill explained that the site evaluation is “done to determine physical measurements, usage (seating arrangements), EMI, loop performance constraints (largely due to metal loss) for uniform sound volume and sound frequency – all with view on how to design an IEC60118 compliant hearing loop” Metal absorbs sound and, if not taken into account, can lead to a ‘dead zone’ for sound.

A decision was then made on the type of loop driver (amplifier) needed for the best sound.  As the church hosts a number of musical events, a loop driver capable of providing clarity for music was chosen.

CIMG0015 May 14 2018 Site survey SSUC

Pieter Valkenburg (left) and Jack Sorensen (right) loop wire between the pew rows during the site survey at South Shore United Church. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

CIMG0026 May 14 2018 Site survey SSUC

Left to right: Tom Barnes, Jack Sorensen, Bill Droogendyk, Phil Pater, Pieter Valkenburg. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 5:  Wiring The Sanctuary

Based on the loop design determined by the site evaluation, Jack and Pieter spent hours on the floor of the sanctuary South Shore United Church, stapling wires under pews and then burying any visible wires between the floorboards so that no wires were exposed.  By the way, if you were wondering, they made sure the staples didn’t go through the wire.  They did it right the first time.  And the wiring is basically invisible, as you can see from the photo below.

CIMG0062 May 16 2018 can you spot the wire between the floorboards at SSUC

The loop wire went into a crack between two floorboards in the exposed areas of the sanctuary. Can you spot which crack the wire went in? (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

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.

CIMG0059 May 16 2018 Bill and Jack hook up the loop driver and calibrate

Bill Droogendyk (left) and Jack Sorensen (right) calibrate the loop driver after it’s been hooked up to the church’s sound system. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

After the technicians said everything worked, it was time for someone with hearing loss to give a verdict.  As no one had tested a pocket talker that had a telecoil built in it, that was chosen for a test of the hearing loop.  I tried it in various parts of the looped area and it worked perfectly.

CIMG0058 May 16 2018 Daria tests the hearing loop at SSUC

Thumbs up for a successful hearing loop installation at South Shore United Church. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

CIMG0056 May 16 2018 Jack Pieter Bill at SSUC post installation

Smiles all around for a job well done! Left to right: Jack Sorensen, Pieter Valkenburg, Bill Droogendyk. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Step 7:  Post Signage

The last step in the installation was to post signs advising that the hearing loop was installed.  Stickers were placed on the pews in the looped area, and a notice with the universal logo indicating a telecoil was installed was given to the Church secretary for inclusion in the weekly bulletins.

Hearing Loop System Installed At

A brochure on the ways to access a hearing loop was printed, with publication costs for the brochures paid for by a grant from the PEI Seniors Secretariat.  (See The Let’s Loop PEI Project – How You Can Access An Area With A Hearing Loop for this same information.)

This was an amazing experience and everyone learned a lot about hearing loops.  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.

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

Upcoming Fundraiser Ceilidh at Bonshaw Hall on May 27, 2018 at 2 pm

May 18, 2018.  As a small non-profit charitable organization, run on a volunteer basis, we are not swimming in money.  We receive grants for various projects, and the few non-projected related activities we can do are funded by donations.

We now have a page at the Canada Helps website.  If you are appreciative of the hard work we do to provide information and improve accessibility awareness for those with hearing loss, please consider making a donation.  Here is the link: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/34708

We are also excited about an upcoming fundraising activity offered by Bonshaw Hall, which has monthly ceilidhs.  This month, the organizers are generously sharing their proceeds with us, to help in our non-project related activities. We hope you come out and enjoy the show, while helping us at the same time.  Below is the announcement from Bonshaw Hall:

The monthly Ceilidh Concert at Bonshaw Hall will be Sunday, ​May 27  from 2 – 4 pm. Performers include special musical guests  Island Girls (DonnaLee Perry​, Alice Gallant and Sadie Perry​) and singer/songwriter David MacKay.​ Also joining will be regulars Herb MacDonald, Andrea Corder, Phil Pineau and Tony the Troubador.  There will be a 50/50 draw, cookies & tea, and open stage time. Admission is by donation with proceeds going to the PEI ​Chapter of the Canadian ​​Hard of Hearing Association. ​All ages welcome; accessible for small wheelchairs. For more information phone 902-675-4093 or check their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/592420241122311/

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

© Daria Valkenburg

We Try Out The Loop Access Devices

LoopPEI_logo-P2

May 15, 2018.  The Let’s Loop PEI project officially launched yesterday with the first day of an informational workshop, led by Bill Droogendyk of Better Hearing Solutions, on what a hearing loop actually is and how it works, followed by a site survey at South Shore United Church in Tryon.

CIMG0015 May 14 2018 Site survey SSUC

Pieter Valkenburg (left) and Jack Sorensen (right) loop wire between the pew rows during the site survey at South Shore United Church. (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

A temporary loop was set up in the classroom where the workshops are being held, and I had a chance to try out the hearing loop receiver.  It didn’t work for me, so I was a bit disappointed. That’s when it was confirmed that I have no technological brain!  In order for the receiver to work, you have to first turn it on (duh!) and, second, the receiver has to be in an upright, not a horizontal position.  Once those two points were corrected, it was UNBELIEVABLE!  How do you describe a reaction that’s both astonishment and delight?  The clarity of sound was indescribable!

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PLR-BP1-Williams-Sound-Loop-System-Body-Pack-Rece

We were getting excited about the possibilities and eager to try out more of the ways to access a hearing loop.  Annie Lee MacDonald, who has an iPhone, had downloaded the app (see https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/loopbuds/id1111272148?mt=8).   Bill had brought along the special earbuds, OTOjOY, needed to access the hearing loop with the iPhone app.  The telecoil is in the earbuds.  Success!

Loop buds for iPhone (2)

Next, Brenda Porter, whose hearing aids have an activated T-coil switch, tried the hearing loop.  Another success!

We still have to try out the special pocket talker, something to look forward to in today’s workshop. Stay tuned!

Check our upcoming events page for information on a public information session coming up on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 7 pm at West River United Church in Cornwall, where you can experience the hearing loop, have any questions answered, and if needed, purchase a receiver, pocket talker, or the OTOjOY earbuds. 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

© Daria Valkenburg