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One congregation in Nevada scoops the ‘loop’

No one wants to be left out of the loop.

So at First Christian Church in Nevada, there’s now a sure way that all people, especially those who have a hearing deficiency, can be in the loop when it comes to hearing what’s happening during their church services.

On Sunday, Nov. 3, First Christian will have a brief dedication ceremony for the newly installed hearing loop that has been operational in its church since Oct. 18, and was first enjoyed during a worship service on Oct. 20.

“It seems amazing that three or four wires underneath that carpet can vibrate enough to do this (allow for great hearing reception),” said First Christian member Raymond Kassel.

Kassel is among the approximately 10 percent of First Christian members who use a hearing aid or cochlear implant to hear better. The new hearing loop, which consists of a set of wires that are basically “looped” around the perimeter of the sanctuary floor under the carpet, operates through a connection to the sound system and its microphones so that anyone who has a telecoil in their hearing device can benefit. For those who do not have the telecoil in their own device, the church has two hand-held receivers with headphones that can be used with the system.

Church Pastor Anjeanette Perkins said it was last summer that she heard about the hearing loops, which are a joint project of the Hearing Loss Association and the American Academy of Audiology, and are suggested by the American With Disabilities Act. She arranged to test the system during a worship service so members of the congregation could try it.

“One member tried them (the headphones and receiver) and was amazed at how much he could hear,” Perkins said.

Kassel said when a request was put out to see if the congregation would support purchasing a system, which for the size of First Christian’s sanctuary was about a $4,000 project, the response was good. In fact, Kassel and Perkins say there is interest in the congregation for putting another hearing loop in the church’s fellowship hall, where they would likely install it under the ceiling tiles.

Perkins said she believes First Christian is the first church in Nevada and possibly in the central Iowa area to install a hearing loop. The church worked with the company, Hearing Access Solutions, LLC, to accomplish the project. Sheryl Butler of Hearing Access Solutions said that her company has installed six loops in Iowa, as well as doing installations in Nebraska, Missouri and California. While most of the company’s installations have been in churches, Butler said the company has also installed the system in senior centers, libraries and a couple of theaters.

Kassel said as a person with a hearing aid, he can attest to being very happy with the hearing loop and its ability to bring him fully into the service. Prior to having the loop, Kassel said the church had gone through three public address systems. Most churches, he said, continue to turn up the volume on their speakers to help people hear. With a hearing loop, the public address system can do its job and let the loop do the rest.

If other area congregations or individuals are interested in visiting First Christian to see how their loop works, Perkins and Kassel said they welcome people to come into their church and try it. They are also more than willing to share information with others about the hearing loop.

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