[Xpress has] been carrying articles related to wellness, emphasizing the whole person.
But if you are going to deal with the health of the whole person, you need to consider hearing loss and the limited availability of means for dealing with it. It can lead to gross isolation, which can be a life and death situation. Short of that, even with hearing aids, people are deprived of normal interaction and have little access to community events. Hearing aids are much better than they used to be. But beyond face-to-face conversation, especially in noise, they do not meet the need unaided.
Many assistive listening devices add to the already high cost of most quality hearing aids. They need careful maintenance, are battery-dependent, and require headphones.
But most hearing aids have t-coils, originally devised to work with telephones. Hearing loops work with them at no additional cost to the user. No batteries or headphones are needed. Maintenance is minimal. Competently installed, induction loops placed round a room enable amplified sound to reach hearing aids beautifully. There are uses of this for individuals, as at home. And [there are] counter ones to enable a receptionist with a small microphone to speak clearly with a client.
Asheville needs loops to enable those with hearing loss to have access to amplified sound. We could use donors to sponsor such installations. With some exceptions, most churches and businesses are missing out because people who can’t hear don’t keep coming. And nearly a fifth of Buncombe County’s adult population experiences hearing loss.
A national speaker on looping, Dr. Juliette Sterkens, will speak at Reuter Center (UNC Asheville) at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 16. The room is looped. Use of the technology will be demonstrated. Hosting this is the brand-new Asheville Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, which will have its first regular meeting on Saturday, March 21, at 10:30 a.m. at Care Partners’ Seymour Auditorium. Those meetings, for mutual support and education, will happen most months (not October in 2015) on the third Saturday of the month. (As president of the new chapter, I can be reached at 828-665-8699 or at email@example.com.)
— Ann Karson