This is a weird time of year; the holidays are over and there are no vacations until Memorial Day. Fortunately, the long, dark days give you plenty of time to spend with your family. What do families in Tucson love? That’s right, the movies! So, what do you do need to know if you are using hearing aids?
Now for most, this sounds like an easy family outing. Simply buy the tickets and snacks (for nothing less than a small fortune, might I add) and settle in for an entertaining two+ hours. But for those with hearing loss this can actually be quite daunting. The surround sound, noisy patrons and background noise all mix together to form a seemingly impossible task.
The good news for those who utilize a hearing aid to treat their loss is that all modern day theaters must have an assistive listening system in place. For most, this will be in the form of a hearing loop. A hearing loop is able to transmit sound as electromagnetic energy. This system is made up of three parts: a sound source, an amplifier and a thin loop of wire that surrounds the whole room. As long as you are within the wire loop and have a t-coil enabled device, the sound picked up by the amplifier is passed directly to your hearing aid.
Most hearing aids contain a t-coil (also called a telecoil). The t-coil is exactly what it sounds like: a coil of wire that works as a miniature wireless receiver. It is able to pick up electromagnetic signals (from a hearing loop) and turn those signals back into sound within the hearing aid.
Before you head out the door to the movies, make sure to check your local theater’s website. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that all places of public accommodation with fixed seating that either accommodate at least 50 people or have an audio amplification system (or both) must provide an assistive listening system. This means your theater must have a system in place. It is your responsibility to confirm which type of system to make sure your device is compatible.
While most theaters have a hearing loop, there are other assistive listening systems, such as FM and infrared. If you do not have the equipment required to connect the system with your hearing aid the movie theater may have some on-site. Simply call the theater before you head over to confirm.
Don’t let your hearing impairment slow you down. If you have any questions about how to get the most from your hearing aid, contact your Tucson audiologist.