Libraries are usually a quiet place. But, they are also a place to discuss ideas, research and meet. Sometimes, background noise can find its way murmuring up. That’s why the Bruton Memorial Library installed a hearing loop this summer.
The hearing loop will help those with hearing disabilities at the service desk.
“This is where we are conversing mostly with our patrons,” Library Director Anne Haywood said. “There is a lot of talking done at the service desk.”
The loop works by sending out a signal from a microphone to hearing aids. Hearing aids that are compatible with the loop system have a specific wire inside, called a telecoil or t-coil. The t-coil picks up the loop signal and transmits it directly into the ear.
More than 70% of hearing aids have a t-coil, and 29 of 30 behind-the-ear hearing aid models come with a t-coil.
To use the loop system, the t-coil must be enabled. For hearing aids that have a t-coil, there is a “turn on or “switch to” mode. Newer models have buttons or a remote control that will switch to the correct mode. If the hearing aid isn’t equipped with a “switch” or “button” then it most likely doesn’t have a t-coil.
Haywood said there are some regulars who have experimented with the loop, but many don’t realize the service is available. The symbol for looping is a blue rectangle with a white ear. A diagonal line strikes across the ear and the letter “T” is located in the bottom right corner.
Check with your audiologist if you’re not sure if your hearing aid has a t-coil.
The loop was obtained through The Loop Florida Initiative, which was established in 2011 by the Central Florida Speech and Hearing Center. The Friends of the Library covered the $300 installation cost.
The Loop Florida Initiative has installed many loop systems in Central Florida, including many churches in Lakeland, a seminar room at Florida Southern College and three Publix grocery stores.
Bruton Memorial Library is the first building in Plant City to have the initiative’s equipment installed. Although it is only confined to the area of the service desk, loops can be wired to encompass a whole building, such as a worship hall.
Contact Amber Jurgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.