Hearing Loop a Big Help at Univ. of Iowa

By Forrest Saunders & Vanessa Miller, Reporter


By Forrest Saunders

IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa has a new way to help those with hearing disabilities.

It’s called a hearing loop. A copper wire is installed in the ceiling or floor of a room, and that wire sends audio – like that from a professor wearing a microphone – directly to a hearing aid or implant in the room. The UI has just one lecture room with a hearing loop right now. But they’re looking to expand into more building and classrooms, including Hancher Auditorium.

“We are excited,” said UI Facilities Management Accessibility Coordinator Brian Manternach. “This really embraces our responsibility to provide environments that are welcoming to people with disabilities."

Manternach said the tool works because it complements the technology already in a person’s hearing aid or cochlear impact.

"The transmission of sound goes directly into hearing aids," he said.

Iowa's disability services adviser Carly Armour said she was born with profound hearing loss in both ears. She has implants that help, but lectures, concerts or meetings can still be difficult for her.

"There's often a lot of background noise, or sometimes my brain goes tired," Armour said.

So she uses interpreters or wears audio assistance devices, which can be frustrating to arrange or check out. Armour said the hearing loop is an ideal solution, and she’s already tried out the technology.

"I actually turned my head,” she said. “'Is there a speaker beside me?' It sounded like it was right there."

Armour said using the tool is simple.

"I just push this one button right here," she said, pointing to her cochlear implant.

UI officials say the cost to install hearing loops is about $20 per seat. They hope having more loops in concert halls and lecture rooms will spike attendance by the hearing impaired.

Conversation Guidelines

Be Kind

Don't use abusive, offensive, threatening, racist, vulgar or sexually-oriented language.
Don't attack someone personally. Keep it civil and be responsible.

Share Knowledge

Be truthful. Share what you know and what you are passionate about.
What more do you want to learn? Keep it simple.

Stay focused

Promote lively and healthy debate. Stay on topic. Ask questions and give feedback on the story's topic.

Report Trouble

Help us maintain a quality comment section by reporting comments that are offensive. If you see a comment that is offensive, or you feel violates our guidelines, simply click on the "x" to the far right of the comment to report it.

read the full guidelines here »

Commenting will be disabled on stories dealing with the following subject matter: Crime, sexual abuse, property fires, automobile accidents, Amber Alerts, Operation Quickfinds and suicides.

facebook twitter rss mobile google plus
email alerts you tube hooplanow pinterest instagram

What's On KCRG