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The Villages
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hearing loss community tests Loop system at The Sharon

Twenty-five people participated in a test at The Sharon Performing Arts Center on Tuesday to evaluate the hearing loop system installed at the new venue.

Audio and visual director Cassie Russo coordinated the test with the help of other staff members to ensure that hearing-impaired audiences will be able to enjoy future performances.

Participants included members of the Villages Hearing Loss Association. Also present were two audiologists, Dr. Michael Moore and Dr. Danielle Rosier, and former president of the Hearing Loss Association of Florida, Lynn Rousseau.

Russo handed out an evaluation sheet, featuring a seating chart, which asked for the participant’s type of hearing aid and to offer feedback on the quality of sound reception while participants moved around the theater.

Not all participants wore hearing aids as some had cochlear implants and others used the center’s hand-held receivers and headphones to listen; however, it was essential that hearing-aid users turn on their telecoils to wirelessly connect to the system.

Retired audiologist Bill Hall, accompanied by his wife Mary of the Village of Tamarind Grove succinctly explained the purpose of the telecoil by stating that telecoils, which are also found in phones, clarify specific sound sources. Hall described that “the loop system broadcasts an electromagnetic field” in which the telecoils pick up electromagnetic signals for precise and undistorted sound.

Hall is also a member of Loop The Village, a committee that establishes the loop systems in various locations such as churches and is working together with the recreation department to have loop systems installed in recreation centers.

As “Midnight in Paris” played, the participants moved around to specific locations, noting suggestions and critiquing the sound received. Resultantly, the group gave mixed responses on their sheets, with mostly positive comments according to the staff.

“They’re trying really hard,” says Betty Giertz of the Village of Alhambra. “This test is such a good thing for those with hearing loss.”

Janis Ward of Village of Belvedere commended Russo and her team for being “proactive” about improving the loop system so that all audiences can enjoy.

Rosier, whose practice is in Brownwood Paddock Square, had confidence that the staff knows what technical issues need mending.

“I think it’ll be worked out,” she said.

Because of the auditorium’s unique structure and the venue’s novelty, the hearing loop system will continue to receive refinement until it ultimately works adequately for those who are hearing impaired.

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