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Loop Technology Helps Omaha Hear

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Have you ever missed a punchline during a play? Was everyone else laughing while you were asking the person next to you what was just said?

If you’ve ever missed part of a performance due to difficulty hearing, you are not alone. Nearly 15% of the US population suffers from hearing loss. While hearing aids fit by a skilled audiologist can help, many individuals still have difficulty hearing in playhouses, concert halls and auditoriums due to background noise, sound reverberation and the nature of a damaged auditory system.

Luckily, the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, NE has gone above and beyond to ensure those with hearing loss will have a much better chance of hearing and enjoying their performances with hearing loop system technology.

A hearing loop system is an assistive listening technology that enables speech and music from performances to be delivered directly to a listener’s ear. A hearing loop consists of a physical loop cable or an array of loops of cable placed around a selected area, usually a room or a building. A magnetic field is generated in the cable throughout the looped area which is then detected by a hearing aid or cochlear implant processors that have telecoil (t-coil) compatibility.

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T-coil technology picks up the induction signal produced by the loop system and delivers the signal to the listener. This technology significantly improves the signal to noise ratio, which is a key component in a listener’s ability to understand speech. For those without t-coil compatible hearing aids or cochlear implants, there are specialized hand-held hearing loop receivers that can be paired with headphones.

Omaha Performing Arts worked to update and refresh parts of the Orpheum Theater prior to its 90th anniversary season in 2017. The hearing loop installation in Slosburg Hall was included as part of the project that was funded from several donations by community members.

Joni Fuchs, the Front of House Manager for Omaha Performing Arts, is thrilled with the results of the loop installation. “It is truly remarkable! Parts of the Orpheum seating where patrons previously could have had difficulty hearing are now crystal clear.” Ms. Fuchs is pleased with how many people can benefit from the hearing assistance loop technology provides. “Even if they don’t have hearing aids or a cochlear implant with a t-coil, headsets with a small handheld receiver are available for use during performances.”

While many places in Omaha offer hearing assistive technology, loop systems that can sync with an individual’s prescription fit hearing aids offer an enhanced listening experience and reduce the fear of missing out on what is being said.

Hopefully more places will follow the great example of the Orpheum Theater in the future!

If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, the first step is a diagnostic hearing evaluation from a trusted provider. Advanced Audiology of Greater Omaha specializes in diagnosing and treating hearing loss with hearing aids and other assistive listening technologies.

Call to schedule a hearing evaluation and consult or to find out if your current hearing aids can be programmed to benefit from loop system technology.

Advanced Audiology of Greater Omaha at (402) 758-5327 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sam Gillespie.

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