Past Issues

The following are articles which have been previously published in our magazine. Click here for more information on ordering a back-issue of our magazine.

« back

To Hear in Church is Divine
by Allan Soifer

What type of system should churches install to provide hearing accessibility?

Based on my 32 years of professional experience in dealing with audio engineering for radio, television, webcasting, major concerts, filmmaking, major church sound systems and installations for simultaneous interpretation, I offer the following comments, not as the last word, but as a ‘jump-off’ platform.

I have found two primary means of getting a boosted sound signal to a hard of hearing person using a personal receiver set: a wireless radio mode and a wireless Infra-Red mode. I like both systems. They both have very strong and similar pros, and few cons.

Radio-based systems are good in church locales where no wireless mics are to be used, and no computer systems are active in the sanctuary. The ‘hash’ generated by a computer can wipe out a wireless signal. Even some of the more costly UHF wireless mics may introduce harmonic interference into wireless radio hearing assistive equipment. Careful testing and evaluation by an experienced pro is called for.

Infrared-Red relies on invisible light beams bouncing around the church sanctuary to activate a sensitive light on the receiver. This light beam can be negated by strong spotlighting in the sanctuary, very high levels of fluorescent or mercury vapour lighting, or any type of wide-area high-efficiency illumination.

I do not recommend magnetic audio loop systems. They are outmoded and do not work well anymore due to more modern hearing aid equipment and the amount of stray electromagnetic interference in any church environment including lighting dimmers, air conditioning, computers and other modern devices.

So what to do? When confronted by the need to install or upgrade hearing accessible systems, seek out a contractor who has done this work numerous times. The usual caveats apply - get references of other satisfied clients and talk with them. Make absolutely certain that the contractors understand what the end result is to be. Note: church officials should understand this as well.

The goal should be a clean signal, free of reverberation or other effects, and taken as directly as possible from the microphones used for the service and vocals. This is not usually problematic with larger sound systems in bigger churches, but calls for a little engineering ingenuity in small churches.

Also, bear in mind that each person’s actual audio needs differ. One consumer should not dictate use for another consumer. Consult with an audiologist and hearing aid fitter. Setting the level, tone and other adjustments to the system should be left to the audio techs in church who are instructed by a hearing aid technician.

Remember, to hear in church is divine and possible!

Editor’s note: Allan Soifer lives and works in Eastern Canada.

« back

Content Management Powered by CuteNews
Privacy Policy      Refund Policy      Contact Us