Talk on Hearing Technologies for public spaces
On Thursday September 12th. 2013, at 7:00 pm at the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, 200 Main St., Thomaston, will be hosting a presentation on assistive technologies for the deaf and hearing-impaired. The presenter will be Elissa Moran, Executive Director of the Maine Center on Deafness, in Portland. While today's society is vary aware of the issues faced by people with physical handicaps (access ramps, for example, are ubiquitous), those with hearing impairments are frequently marginalized by the inability to communicate freely, in a way which most other people find difficult to understand. Many technologies and services have been developed to aid such people, and organizations (such as the Maine Center on Deafness) exist to educate the community, to promote an awareness of the problems faced by the deaf, and to act as a source for some of the hardware solutions. Ms. Moran will include in her presentation information about the specific services offered by MCD.
A second goal for the seminar is to highlight the use of the “hearing loop” that was installed in our church this spring. This is a relatively inexpensive “add-on” to the public address system that exists in many churches or auditoriums, and I can vouch for its effectiveness because of the many members of our parish who have thanked us warmly for having installed it. It transmits the sound via a magnetic signal that is received by a coil built into many hearing aids, and allows the listener to hear a speaker without interference from echos in the building, coughs and shuffling in the congregation or audience, passing traffic, etc. Several deaf members of my congregation have told me how it has transformed their ability to participate in our services, and one commented – publicly – that it was the first time in 15 years that he had been able to hear my sermons! We cordially invite any user of hearing aids, (whose aids are equipped with the “T-coil”) to come to the seminar, or to any of our services, to discover just what a difference this technology can make. It has become a mini-mission of our parish to raise awareness of how easy it is to make accommodation for the deaf and hearing-impaired, and what a major change it can make in their lives.