“Get in the Hearing Loop”, a national movement to promote communication access and support a barrier-free Canada, one loop at a time. We hope to change public spaces — and lives!
Visit our website www. getinthehearingloop.ca or contact us to arrange a hearing loop installed in your community.
Business Profile – Hearing Loops installed at retail locations in Sudbury.
The CHHA Sudbury office has actively engaged with key members in their community to ensure people who are hard of hearing have equal access to services at local retailers and community spaces. Their “Hear the North ” campaign has made a difference over the last couple of years as Kim Scott, Executive Director CHHA Sudbury, and Joe Stacknik Hearing Awareness and Accessibility Co-ordinator share how valuable hearing loops are and the impact it already has made in their community, changing lives.
Tell us about CHHA Sudbury’s work in raising awareness of hearing loops?
In 2018 CHHA Sudbury launched our Hear the North campaign to advocate for improved hearing loss awareness and accessibility in public spaces. Realizing we needed to loop something to help with the launch of this campaign, we looped our local theatre centre, Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC). We held a press conference at STC where we invited the media to learn what a hearing loop is. We also started looping our local Independent Grocers and Giant Tiger stores here. After the press conference and while installing the countertop loops in the stores, we started running a public service announcement on our local CTV affiliate promoting the hearing loop and telling people about the tele coil. We designed two leaflets to leave at the grocery stores for the public. The first one we placed at the various cashier locations and counters that said “Coming Soon” explained that this location was being looped for people who wear hearing aids. It had a diagram of the loop system and how it works, and it also explained the t-coil. The second one we left after the installations were done said, “You Are In The Loop”. We also put stickers on the floor directing people where to stand to use the loop system. I have attached samples of those for you.
Can you share which areas now have hearing loops in the Sudbury area?
Along with Sudbury Theatre Centre we also looped the French community’s new state-of-the-art theatre Place Des Arts. We looped their main theatre, multi-purpose room, ticket booth, and their bistro. We have now looped four churches in Sudbury and one church in the small community of Espanola just west of Sudbury, and a church in Sault Ste. Marie. During the pandemic, with the barriers and masks implemented for safety reasons in all public spaces, we realized it was harder for people with hearing loss to hear and read lips, especially when doing something like groceries that remained open. CHHA Sudbury started installing countertop loops at the local Independent Grocery stores and Giant Tiger stores in Sudbury and Espanola. We are in the process of doing the same in Sault Ste. Marie and we also looped the small Fresh Co. in Espanola. In total, we have looped five independents with two more coming soon and 2 Giant Tigers with one more coming soon.
What was the response from the community?
The response to the theatres has been hard to gauge because of the pandemic; they have mostly been closed. Before they shut down, though, the Artist Director was telling us that people were coming to him and saying they had used and enjoyed the loop. We have received a great response from our clients who have used the store-loop systems. Our PSA’s that run and promote the use of the loop through the tele coil say at the end of the 30 second spot to ask your audiologist about the t-coil. One audiologist was telling us that people are coming into the office and asking about the t-coil specifically because they have seen the spots on TV. Kim recently held a workshop on hearing aids and tinnitus, and when she asked if people had a t-coil in their hearing aid, she was surprised at the number of people who raised their hands. The word is getting out there.
“The loop system is super. You can hear all the lines it enhances the performers voices they come in nice and clear. The greatest thing since Captain Crunch cereal. I wish they would have had this years ago.” Gary
“It closes out all the background noise and I hear just the voice from the microphones on stage.”Denis
“Makes it easier for me to understand what they are saying. I am not struggling to hear. I think it’s fantastic.”Debbie
How did you approach the locations where you have installed the loops as a potential area where you felt hearing loops should be installed.
In the churches’ case, some contacted us because they had either heard from another church about looping or wanted something better than the FM systems they were currently using. In one case, the church was a new build, and they wanted to install something that was going to be durable, dependable and would last a long time. With the countertop loops installed at the stores, most sell our tickets for our annual Ultimate Dream Home campaign, so it just seemed like an easy fit to approach them about the loop. We approached Sudbury Theatre Centre and Place Des Arts individually.
What was their response?
The churches and the parishioners have been pleased with the systems. After sitting with each grocery store owner and telling them about the loops and how beneficial they would be for their customers, they were all in 100% for the most part. Paul Anthraper is the northern District Manager for the Independent grocery stores, and they shot a special video that promoted the systems and how they work and the response. They shot the video for their annual national convention, which was very well received. As for the theatres, they were on board immediately, realizing they wanted to cater to all their clientele and not shut anyone out because of their disability.
Can you share testimonials or feedback from the community and or others?
When we met with Emmaus Anglican Church in Sault Ste, Marie, which we looped, to let their parishioners know how the loop works, we had a gentleman tell us that he had heard a sermon for the first time in 20 years. One of their parishioners has taken it on as a personal project of his, and he had the artistic director of the theatre in Sault Ste. Marie comes to this meeting as a place to potentially loop. We will be meeting with him next week to do a site assessment. It is nice to see people’s reactions and to see how they see how beneficial this is for people who are hard of hearing and wear hearing aids. They are so affected that they are going out in their community and telling people and businesses about how great it is. We also get phone calls from local business owners asking about the loop systems because they have either seen our PSA’s or saw the countertop loops in the grocery stores.
What other areas would you like to see have more accessible devices (such as the hearing loops) and others in your community?
A dream would be to have every public space looped or partially looped! Every place a fully hearing person utilizes should be accessible for someone hard of hearing, from grocery stores to arenas to banks, auditoriums, and theatres to buses and taxi cabs.
Share a message with those unaware of the impact hearing loops make on people who are hard of hearing?
Going to a grocery store is something people do on a weekly or even daily basis, and it should not be a difficult task. Going out for a night to see a show or a play should be something everybody gets to do. Having a grocery store or a theatre looped gives hard of hearing people the freedom to do that. It makes them feel like they belong there too. People with hearing difficulties should not be forced to stay in their homes. They should be out there enjoying life like everybody else.
Photos of hearing loop install at the Independent Grocers: