During a worship service, everyone wants to be able to hear the message. There are three different ways to make audio more accessible: a hearing loop, Bluetooth, and a radio frequency (RF) transmitter with headsets.
Hearing loops feed audio directly into hearing aids through telecoil technology. When hearing aid users set their t-switch to “on,” the background noise fades away, and the individual can hear speakers clearly. Here is a video that lets you hear the difference in sound
. This seems to be the most preferred method. However, it requires installing a wire loop around the entire meeting space.
A Bluetooth transmitter can send the audio signal to hearing aids via WiFi. Most hearing aids connect to Bluetooth, but it depends on the compatibility of the device, so there can be technical difficulties. Also, the device can unpair unexpectedly. A unique aspect of Bluetooth is the ability to use personalized settings that give individual control over the sound. Here is a video of a doctor explaining the advantages of Bluetooth in hearing aids
Bluetooth and hearing loops do not require those who wear hearing aids to wear any other device. Headsets that connect with Bluetooth or hearing loops can be used by those who don’t wear hearing aids but are still having difficulty hearing.
Radio frequency: RF requires the listener to wear a headset to receive audio from an FM transmitter that is plugged into the sound system. It is also possible to connect the audio feed to hearing aids through a neckloop receiver. This is the lowest cost option, but it has some drawbacks. The sound quality is not as good. The audio feed can pick up static from other radio signals in the area. RF also does not pick up instruments as well.
It is important to note that “optimal” may vary for individuals. Listen to what your congregation needs and ADN can help you explore the resources you need for everyone to hear the Good News.
Hannah Thompson is a motivational speaker as well as an advocate for people who have disabilities. She has a Master of Arts degree in Social Justice from Loyola University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication at Elmhurst University in 2012. Hannah served as program director for ADN.