The audio induction loop systems designed and manufactured by the UK's Ampetronic and installed by US company Assistive Audio at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC have been causing quite a stir of late.
The Audio induction Loop Systems, which were installed for the benefit of the joint annual conferences of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and International Hearing Loops (IHL) were not only a great success at the event but have continued to make waves ever since, gaining the technology many advocates.
As part of the conference, a performance of the hit Broadway musical Wicked was staged at the Kennedy Centre on the 17th June. In attendance, among many others, was composer Richard Einhorn, whose emotional experience of the event has now been the subject of a New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/science/24loops.html?_r=2&hpw
Ampetronic have invested heavily in promoting Audio Induction Loop technology, and its potential for making a real difference to the lives of those with hearing impairments in the US, with this being the latest recognition of the growing awareness and positive reaction.
A survey conducted afterwards by 'Zoomerang' revealed that, of the people who used the induction loop during the show, 95% of those who responded had a positive, or very positive response, 28% were experiencing the technology for the very first time, but only 9% of the stated that they could enjoy the use of an induction loop at their local theatre.
Some of the comments gathered during the survey only serve to re-enforce this message:
"I cried at the end of the show. For the first time in 50 years, I heard every word in a song and dialogue through the loop system."
"Being able to enjoy the SOUND of the performance through my t-coil was a wonderful experience for me... AWESOME!!!!!"
"I used the telecoil and loop system and it was as clear as if I was standing on stage"
"You can't imagine how stunning it was to be in a theatre that made it so easy to hear"
The substantial installation, which covered the conference room, ballroom and convention hall was to assist a wider initiative by the HLAA and American Academy of Audiology to introduce Audio Induction Loops to the US, and part of Ampetronic's on-going commitment to the project which has now been going for over 12 years.
There is still a great deal of work to do regarding the promotion of the technology in the US, where acceptance has been slower than in Europe - primarily due to initial scepticism about its effectiveness. However the number of advocates for Audio Induction Loops is growing daily, and now that the positive effect it has on the lives of those with hearing impairments is known, this can other gather pace.