Hearing Loops Give Music Back to Composer Who Went Deaf in a Day

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The man responsible for bringing the technology to the United States is David Myers, a 71-year-old professor of psychology at Hope College in Michigan, who has significant hearing loss.

"I was the child of a mother who was severely hard of hearing and was completely deaf for the last 12 years of her life," he said. "We would write notes to her."

For two years, Myers lived and worked in Scotland.

"On one of those trips in 1999, I was at the Iona Abbey on the West Coast and could not understand a word being spoken – the sound was reverberating off the walls. Then I noticed a sign – and I had a hearing aid with t-coil. So I turned it on and it worked. Suddenly there was a crystal clear voice speaking from the center of my head as if I were at the podium."

He discovered that all over Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, every church, cathedral and post office with a public address system used hearing loops. "There were in hundreds of thousands of venues. When I came home, I said, 'Why can't we have this in the U.S.?'"

The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that theaters and other public venues accommodate the hearing impaired, but doesn't specify the technology to be offered.

Myers continues to travel to Europe, where loops are compatible with U.S. systems. "It doesn't matter where I am -- what state in the U.S. or what country or what brand of hearing aid I have – it works universally for everybody."

Composer Einhorn, who can once again enjoy Broadway with the new loops, agrees.

"It's wonderful and very simple technology," said Einhorn. "One of its main assets is that it gives you dignity. You are not wearing an embarrassing pair of earphones."

Learn more about hearing loops and get information on where to purchase them.

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