Tempe library adds help for the hearing impaired

People who use hearing aids or have cochlear implants will have an easier time communicating while at the Tempe Public Library.

The Arizona Community Foundation is providing a $23,000 grant to the city of Tempe to install hearing loops at the library, with completion anticipated by October.

A hearing loop is a magnetic wire in the ceiling or floor that electronically transmits sound wirelessly to the assistive hearing devices of people who use hearing aids and cochlear implants.

It enables hearing devices to serve as customized, wireless transmitters and eliminates background noise, making it much easier to receive information.

Hearing loops allow people living with hearing loss to better communicate with people in general, at community events, training, at activities and for government meetings.

More than 1.1 million Arizonans live with hearing loss, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America. It is the third most prevalent health issue in older adults, after arthritis and heart disease.

Hearing issues are the most common service-connected disabilities among American veterans.

Michele Stokes, Tempe ADA Compliance specialist, said the newly announcing funding represents a major contribution to work being done to accommodate those with hearing loss.

This new technology being added to the Tempe public library will help people with hearing disabilities to have a more comfortable experience.

Said Stokes: “We thank the Arizona Community Foundation for the funds and the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing and the Hearing Loss Association of America— Working Adults Chapter, for their support, in this opportunity.

“The beauty of hearing loops is that no matter what brand of hearing aid device or cochlear implant, as long as the device has T-coil programming, which his commonly used for telephone access, the technology works. We hope this will be the beginning of many more installations.”

The awarded funds allow Tempe to install an induction loops in two community spaces in the library, Meeting Room B and the Tempe Learning Center classroom.

These rooms are used widely by the public and for events and meetings such as the Tempe Mayor’s Commission on Disability Concerns, Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Disability Job Fair, the Hearing Loss Association of America meetings, the Tempe Learning Development Program Quarterly ADA Training and Youth Mock Interviewapalooza, which provides opportunities for teens with disabilities.

Information: 480-350- 2704 or michele_stokes@ tempe.gov

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