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Assistive Listening in Your Church

The Invisible Disability

Hearing loss is known as the invisible disability, because unlike other disabilities, it can't be seen. One out of five American adults has some degree of hearing loss. This means that one out of five people in your house of worship may be unable to connect to the message they came to hear. Many people with hearing loss feel frustrated, disconnected, and isolated and as a result, they stop attending worship services.

Assistive Listening

Assistive listening systems help people with hearing loss in difficult listening environments. Houses of worship can be especially hard to hear in due to background noise, reverberation, HVAC systems, and other noise. Providing an assistive listening system in a house of worship can:

  • Make sure that everyone hears inspiring messages and music
  • Increase attendance and sense of community
  • Help people with hearing loss feel less isolated

Three Types of Assistive Listening Systems

Radio Frequency (RF)
  • Works like a radio to deliver sound to a congregant's receiver
  • No line-of-sight issues; covers wide area indoors and outdoors
  • Typically the least expensive assistive listening system
Infrared (IR)
  • Uses light like a TV remote control to deliver sound to a congregant's receiver
  • Offers the advantage of privacy-light cannot travel through walls
  • Great for simultaneous broadcasts and language interpretation
Hearing Loop
  • Congregants can use their own telecoil-equipped devices as receivers
  • Provides discreet and personalized listening experiences
  • Those without telecoils can benefit with additional receivers

Creating Inspirational Listening Experiences

Sound has the power to move us. It connects us to more positive human experiences like the inspirational words and music heard inside a house of worship. When you take away words from a sermon or notes from a choir, you diminish that inspirational connection. Providing people with assistive listening in a house of worship creates inspirational listening experiences and allows people with hearing loss to participate more fully in the things they love to hear.

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