In 2013, Temple Emanu-El installed a hearing loop system in our synagogue building to improve the hearing experience of our members and guests.
A hearing loop (also called an induction loop) connects a sound system – a microphone, TV, DVD player, etc – to a wire loop which encircles the room. The loop gives off a signal that can be picked up by a hearing aid equipped with a telecoil (a tiny wireless receiver) or by a cochlear implant. People without telecoil-equipped hearing aids or cochlear implants can pick up the signal through an unobtrusive personal receiver which is attached to a headphone or ear buds. When the telecoil or personal receiver is turned on, it receives only the sounds coming directly from the sound system, not the background cacophony, and there is no blurring of the sound that comes with distance from a sound source. The sound is clear, clean, and interference-free.
We installed one loop in the floor of our sanctuary whose effect extends to both the sanctuary and our social hall below it, and a second loop in our multi-functional room used for meetings and classes.
We believe that adding hearing loops to our Temple infrastructure demonstrates our deep respect for Jewish values by breaking down one of the barriers to full participation in Jewish life. Thirty years ago, our Temple Emanu-El community took its first steps towards empowering people with disabilities by installing a chair lift on the stairs down to our social hall. Ten years ago, we increased our access for those with mobility challenges by adding an outdoor ramp to our front door. By incorporating a hearing loop system in our building, we are reaching out to those who may have felt socially isolated due to hearing challenges, and bringing them “back to the conversation.”
We want to sincerely thank the Clarity Fund and the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation for funding our hearing loop system.