Pet lovers rejoice! A new facility for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) will now include a hearing loop system. The Humane Society should be moving into its new home the beginning of this year. The facility will include many updates above and beyond the hearing loop, including a designated dog walking path, 5 large off-leash play areas, indoor and outdoor cat habitats, solar covered parking, and a rainwater harvesting system.
What is a Hearing Loop?
A hearing loop is a sound system that is for use specifically by those with hearing loss treated by hearing aids. In facilities outfitted with hearing loops, listeners with hearing aids simply turn on the Telecoil or “T-coil” function on their hearing aids. When this function is enabled, it allows the hearing loop system to send magnetic and wireless sounds directly into the hearing aids. This function greatly reduces annoying background noises and echoes that are common in many public facilities, and allow the hearing aid user to better hear and understand the speaker or presenter.
According to the Adult Loss of Hearing Association (ALOHA), there were currently about 140 buildings and facilities with hearing loops installed in Tucson as of late 2016. Amongst these are the Tucson Performing Arts Center, the Desert Hills Social Center, the Pima Council on Aging, most of the Tucson area public libraries and many houses of worship. For a list of all the facilities visit their website here: http://alohaaz.org/places-looped/
Why Install Hearing Loops at the Humane Society?
When most of us imagine the Humane Society, we usually simply think of a place to adopt our adorable pets or where we bring abandoned animals we find. While the Humane Society has a great adoption program, this is by no means the extent of what they offer, and up until now, many of these have been unavailable to people with hearing impairments.
In the new facility now outfitted with hearing aids, youth and adults who use hearing aids will now be able to more easily participate in all the programs offered by HSSA. Inge Coopman-Leyva, the Associate Director of Education and Outreach for HSSA said in a recent press release, “The Hearing Loop system will allow people, young and old, who have historically not been able to benefit from our programs, to enjoy and participate in our adult and youth education programs, from summer camps, to Pet First Aid to the court mandated classes. In the future, it will also give us the opportunity to specifically target and design programs for those who are hearing impaired. The loop opens up our education services to a group of individuals not frequently and adequately served by our programs”. (http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/37129811/new-facility-for-hssa-will-have-system-to-make-it-easier-for-hearing-impaired). The HSSA also offers a myriad of other education related services like Animal Cruelty Prevention classes and Rattlesnake Avoidance courses.
For a list of current offerings by HSSA, visit their website here: https://hssaz.org/. It is also important to remember that all the work HSSA does, including purchasing their new facility, is funded by donations from local residents and community members. If you can, make a donation to the HSSA as well.
How Can I Take Advantage of Hearing Loops?
Hearing loops can be a lifesaver for people with hearing impairments when participating in community events from watching court proceedings to a musical theatre performance to pet education programs. If you currently use hearing aids, utilizing hearing loop systems are very simple. Even on much older hearing aid models, the Telecoil function is most often available. All the wearer must do is enable this function and the improve hearing begins immediately. If you are unsure whether a hearing loop system is available, loop for the universal symbol or ask a member of staff. Easy as pie!
Unfortunately for those who have not yet treated their hearing loss with hearing aids, hearing loops are not effective without hearing aids. If you have noticed some of the signs of hearing loss such as a decreased ability to understand at community events, it may be a good time to reach out to your local hearing aid center for a hearing assessment.
If you are located in the Tucson area, our friendly team at Lifestyle Hearing Solutions would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, and walk with you on your journey to improved hearing.